The banks of the Shebelle river in southern Somalia broke overnight, flooding the town of Beledweyne and surrounding areas, which are home to some 365,000 people. As of this morning, most parts of Beledweyne are flooded and Save the Children’s team on the ground are reporting severe damage to homes, roads, schools and other infrastructure.
Save the Children is supporting displaced families with clean water, hygiene kits, rapidly building emergency latrines and undertaking hygiene promotions campaigns to help prevent the spread of disease, which is now at high risk due to the large amounts of contaminated water flowing through the town as well and lack of basic sanitation.
An estimated 140,000 people – including some 70,000 children - in the Hiraan region of Somalia have already been forced to flee rising floodwaters to higher grounds. It’s expected that this number will increase over the coming days following the floods overnight.
Mohamud Mohamed Hassan, Save the Children Somalia Country Director said:
“We’ve seen the worst-case scenario unfolding overnight with the banks of the Shebelle River overflowing. Our staff were some of the first to respond, evacuating children and their families as well as their own loved ones who have been directly impacted by the flooding. They are now working tirelessly to provide evacuees with fresh water and the supplies people need to stay healthy throughout this emergency. More resources are urgently needed and we call on the international community to release funds to help desperate families, especially children who are the most vulnerable in these crises.
“The town is now flooded and water is flowing along main roads and the bridge linking the town. If this situation continues, it will destroy the roads and the town will be cut-off, limiting our access to reach the affected people. We are worried that there are still many families who are still inside and may get trapped.”
Save the Children is co-leading a flood taskforce with the Government of Somalia and is urging the international community to release resources to support displaced children and families. Mobile clinics are urgently needed to manage the anticipated disease outbreaks as a result of flooding.
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