Somalia: Federal Government and UN appeal for funds to assist flood victims

The Federal Government of Somalia and the humanitarian community today launched a Flood Response Plan to seek immediate support for hundreds of thousands of people affected by flooding across the country. The plan calls for US$72.5 million to implement life-saving activities from November 2019 to January 2020.

Flooding caused by heavy rains in Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands has affected over half a million people in Somalia, of whom 370,000 are displaced from their homes. Many of these people were still recovering from the 2016/17 drought.

Since 21 October, the flooding has destroyed farmland and infrastructure and devastated livelihoods in some of the worsthit areas. At least 17 people have died, including two children. Livestock losses have also been reported. “The Government of Somalia is leading the humanitarian response efforts through the inter-ministerial committee,” said Hamza Said Hamza, the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management. “The efforts of the national actors and international partners including UN and NGOs are important and well appreciated. But the needs of the affected communities are really huge in regard to shelter, clean water, food, health and protection. That is why we are issuing this plan.”

The floods were triggered by moderate to heavy Deyr seasonal rains that began in early September in many parts of Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands, where the Juba and Shabelle rivers originate. Entire reaches of the two rivers have seen high water levels, resulting in flooding in Hirshabelle, Jubaland and South West states. Flash flooding was also reported in Banadir region, Jowhar, Ceel Cade and Jamame, and some locations in South West State. The worst affected area is Belet Weyne, where overflow from the Shabelle river has displaced 231,000 people from their homes.

“The floods came at a time that 4.8 million Somalis were already in desperate need of assistance due, in part, to climaterelated cycles of drought and flooding,” said Adam Abdelmoula,theHumanitarian CoordinatorforSomalia. “It is important that donors, UN partners, the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member State authorities engage in a serious discussion on preventative development interventions.”

Despite expanded assistance, significant gaps remain in the provision of basic services, particularly under WASH, Shelter/NFI, Health and Food Security clusters. Interventions to scale up livelihoods, alongside famine prevention efforts, must be sustained to prevent food insecurity as heavy rains and an increased risk of water-borne diseases are expected to continue in November and December.