Local people wade through floodwater after bursting of a river in Beledweyne, central Somalia, May 17, 2020. (Xinhua/Hassan Bashi)

UN agencies launch response plan to help flood victims in Somalia

UN agencies on Friday officially released a flood response plan to help nearly one million people who have been affected by the flooding in Somalia.

The 2020 Somalia Flood Response Plan seeks 59.85 million U.S. dollars to deliver life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands in 29 districts over three months.

“With existing resources, humanitarian partners are responding and have delivered food, clean water, emergency shelter, nutrition and medical supplies to flood-affected communities, reaching 255,000 people so far,” said the UN agencies in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu.

The plan, the draft of which has served as the basis for response since the flooding began, outlines support to the government and member states to meet the needs of nearly one million people affected by the Gu’ seasonal rains.

Since April, the floods caused widespread displacement, death as well as destruction of infrastructure and property in 29 districts across the country.

“Of the 918,667 people affected, 415,000 were displaced from their homes. At least 29 people have been killed,” said the UN.

According to the UN, the rains are likely to increase the risk of water-borne diseases.

It said since January, over 2,780 cases of acute watery diarrhea and cholera have been reported, higher than the situation over the same period in 2019, when 1,295 cases were reported.

Humanitarian agencies have broadened and scaled-up their flood response in close coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia and member states.

The plan includes delivery of shelter and non-food assistance as well as water and sanitation assistance to 400,000 people, rehabilitating damaged communal infrastructure including site maintenance in 277 IDP settlements, providing immediate food assistance to 200,000 people in flood-affected areas, and offering health and preventive services to 300,000 people.

The flooding comes at a time when Somalia is struggling with the worst locust infestation in 25 years and COVID-19 outbreak, creating a triple threat.