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Floods sweep through Beletweyne with no help on sight

Storyline:National News

Several villages in Beletweyne have been inundated in floods as residents struggle to move to higher grounds with little help from humanitarian agencies and government coming through.

One of the elders who spoke to Goobjoog News said most locations within the district had been flooded for the last four days amid fears of risks to lives. The areas most affected are Hawa Tako, Kooshin, Buundaweyn and Hawlwadaag.

“We have been in this situation for more than four days now but we have not seen Waare (HirShabelle president) which levies taxes. We have not seen the federal government also,” the elder lamented noting most people have been forced to flee their homes.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned last week Shabelle river was close to breaching its banks amid increased rains in southern Ethiopia.

“As of 22 October, the river level at Belet Weyne is at 7.8m which is about half a meter short of the full bank level,” an update from FAO last week read in part. “Overbank spillages from minor tributaries passing through Belet Weyne town have caused flooding leading to displacements of a significant number of households.”

Most homes have been inundated in floods as residents say there is no help coming their way. Photo: Goobjoog News

Senate first deputy speaker Senator Abshir Ahmad called on the government and aid agencies to move in swiftly to provide humanitarian help to the residents of Beletweyne.

“I call upon HirShabelle State authorities, Federal Government agencies and aid agencies and anyone who can help with emergency assistance to support the people of Beletweyne,” Senator Ahmad said. He said the National Disaster Management Agency should have adequately responded since it was formed solely to address such occurrences.

Only heavy-duty vehicles could wade through the floods. Photo: Goobjoog News

Senator Ahmad also lashed at the Federal Government over what he termed as laxity in responding to the situation in Beletweyne ‘yet it was quick to prioritize political issues’ like interference in Federal Member States.