200 000 forced to evacuate, fatalities feared as massive floods hit Beledweyne, Somalia

200 000 forced to evacuate, fatalities feared as massive floods hit Beledweyne, Somalia

At least 200 000 residents, including 100 000 children, have been forced to evacuate their homes in the town of Beledweyne, Somalia following severe floods. Fatalities are also feared as up to 20 people were thrown into floodwater when a boat capsized in Beledweyne, near the Ethiopia border, on Monday, October 28, 2019. Two children are believed to be among those who drowned.

The number of fatalities is yet to be confirmed, however, news agency Xinhua reported that at least 10 people were killed.

Beledweyne mayor Safiya Hassan Sheikh Ali Jimale was reportedly one of the surviving passengers.

Early seasonal rains have been triggering torrential rains across the country, particularly in southern areas. Approximately 163 000 of those displaced were in Beledweyne and surrounding areas alone. Over 320 000 people have also been affected.

Rivers Shabelle and Juba have also burst, causing widespread flooding in southern areas including Hirshabelle and Jubaland. Farms, infrastructure, and roads have been left destroyed.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry extended its condolences in a statement on October 29, saying "We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life and extensive damage caused by the heavy flooding in the city of Beledweyne in Somalia. We share the grief of the friendly and brotherly Somali people, wish Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives and extend our condolences to their families."

Humanitarian organizations, local authorities, and national officials have been working together to assist residents in affected areas. Water, shelter, and medical assistance have been provided to evacuees as well.

Tropical Storm "Kyarr" is expected to make landfall in Puntland and Somaliland this week, bringing strong winds, rains and possible flash flooding.

Featured image credit: Hon Mohamed kheire

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