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Heavy rains leave 25 people dead, more than 150 000 at risk in days ahead, Somalia


Heavy rains lashed many parts of Somalia over the past few days, triggering flash floods that affected around 25 000 people and killed at least 25. This included nine children who died due to flooding in Banadir on Friday, May 7, 2021, and six others in Mogadishu on Saturday, May 8. More inundations are expected along the Shabelle River in the coming days, putting at least 150 000 people at risk.

The main rivers are overflowing in Somalia, in particular the Shabelle and the Juba Rivers, and floods have resulted in considerable casualties and damage, DG ECHO reports. This has been attributed to unprecedented rains in the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands, especially in the last three days.

Inundations due to heavy rain have affected an estimated 25 000 people in Jowhar. At least 25 fatalities have also been reported, including nine children who died in the recent flooding in Wadajir on Friday.

"Sadly 9 children rushed to hospital following the collapse of a house in Mogadishu have succumbed to their injuries," Abdulkadir Afi confirmed, the Director of Organizational Development and Communication of the Somali Red Crescent Society.

Five of the children, all under 10 years old, were from the same family. 

"Rescue efforts still ongoing and our Somali RC ambulances continue to attend to the wounded. Heavy rains have caused flash floods and structural damage in the area," he said in a statement.

On Saturday, authorities reported six more fatalities– four of which were from the same family– after a wall collapsed on makeshift shelters for internally displaced people (IDP) in Garasbaley, Mogadishu.

There are hundreds of IDPs in the city, most of whom ran away from catastrophes such as the Al Shabaab menace and disasters like flooding– a common occurrence in the country during the rainy season.

In Puntland, heavy rains in the past days caused damage to the main bridge, making it impassable for traders. Two other bridges on Qayaadsame River also sustained damages, affecting the movement of goods from Bossasso. More than 1 250 heads of livestock perished in the low-lying areas of Ceel Daahir.

The Puntland Disaster Management Authority also reported at least three fatalities due to lightning strikes.

In the Shabelle area, hundreds of people have been displaced after flooding ravaged croplands. A flood advisory has been issued for the area as the Shabelle River continues to rise alarmingly in the past two weeks.

"Hundreds of people have been displaced & large farmlands of newly sown crops destroyed by floods after a Shabelle river burst its banks in Baarey & Moyko villages near Jowhar," said Mohammed Ibrahim Moalimuu, the spokesperson of the Federal Government of Somalia.

"Jowhar is on the verge of being surrounded as the road between Mogadishu and Jowhar is totally cut off," he added.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) warned that at least 150 000 people are at risk from further flooding in the area. 

The rising water levels came after "unprecedented excessive rains in the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands," which have been particularly intense over the past few days, said FAO.

Over the next 24 hours, more heavy rain is forecast over Jubaland, South West, Hirshabelle, and the Banadir Region, including Mogadishu.

The damage caused by heavy rains comes on top of lower agricultural output following the late start of the rainy season.

Featured image credit: Abdulkadir Afi

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