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Torrential rains claim 16 lives, affect 200 000 across Somalia

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Torrential rains and flash floods have claimed at least 16 lives and affected more than 200 000 people across Somalia since April 2020.

About 10 others remain missing due to floods and at least 2 000 farms have been washed away since the Gu or rainy season in the country started a month ago. 

Moderate to high flood-risk may persist through mid-May, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization's forecast. Flooding threats urban and riverine populations, including in BeletWeyne and Jowhar of the Hirshabelle state.

Water levels of rivers along the Shabelle basin have increased, posing a high risk of inundations in the following days. Communities near rivers in BeletWeyne have been advised to prepare for possible displacement. 

More than 100 000 have been affected in South West State, while over 11 800 families have been displaced in the Lower Juba region.

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the UN Refugee Agency have airlifted necessary humanitarian assistance to approximately 8 100 people affected by flooding in South West, Jubaland, and Puntland. The emergency kits included jerry cans, soap, sleeping mats, kitchen sets, blankets, and plastic sheets.

UN OCHA warned that flooding due to the Gu season will worsen the situation across the country, along with the COVID-19 pandemic and locust plague.

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Image credit: USGS HDDS

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Image credit: ESA/Sentinel-2

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Image credit: Durable Solutions Secretariat Somalia

"We are witnessing multiple emergencies in Somalia, with an exponential rise of COVID-19, Gu flash floods and riverine flooding," said Johann Siffointe, UNHCR's representative in Somalia. 

"These emergencies must be understood as mutually compounding, requiring ongoing strong cooperation between the international community and governments at the national and sub-national levels."

UNHCR has also mobilized additional resources for non-food items, as well as emergency shelters in response to the affected citizen's ongoing needs.

Featured image credit: Durable Solutions Secretariat Somalia

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