Speaking in Beletweyne Monday, the President said the government had established emergency response teams to work with humanitarian agencies in the country to fast track response.
“We have formed a national disaster committee to respond to the needs of our fellow citizens who have been affected,” he said. “The government stands by your side morally and materially to deliver all the help that we can.”
The President also assured HirShabelle leadership and local residents that the federal government was taking action to address the humanitarian crisis caused by the floods.
The UN estimates at least 500,000 people nationwide have been affected by the floods with 150,000 of these in Beletwyene alone which has seen major parts of the town inundated weeks after Shabelle river burst its banks.
The Shabelle River, which begins in the Ethiopian highlands and flows through Belet Weyne and the HirShabelle state capital of Jowhar, burst its banks following the onset of heavy rains which began last month. Other states affected by the heavy rains include Jubbaland and South West state. The heavy rains and flash floods come only months after a devastating drought left over six million people in need of humanitarian assistance last year.
An official from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Yngvil Foss, said rainfall in recent weeks has been heavier than anticipated.
“Initially, all humanitarian actors started responding with the means and assets they had available,” Ms. Foss, OCHA’s deputy country director for Somalia, said. “In the past week we have been able to raise additional money to target assistance for food, water, sanitation and non-food items to be able to respond.”
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) delivered 4.5 million metric tons of medicines and other medical supplies to Belet Weyne on 29 April. Ms. Foss called for more funding to provide food and water to the increasing numbers of internally displaced persons.