UN releases $18.7M for floods response in Somalia

Residents walk through flooded streets in Beledweyne, north of Mogadishu on May 26, 2016. Hundreds of families have been forced out of their homes following flash floods in Beledweyne after torrential rains pounded the area in the last few days.The heavy rains led to the bursting of River Shabelle which caused massive floods in residential areas along the river. / AFP / MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB (Photo credit should read MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Residents walk through flooded streets in Beledweyne, north of Mogadishu. (Photo credit MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP via Getty Images)

The United Nations has released 18.7 million U.S. dollars to scale up life-saving assistance to more than half a million people affected by floods in Somalia.

Adam Abdelmoula, Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, said the funds from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) will help minimize the impact of these recurrent floods.

“These funds come at a critical time, enabling humanitarian partners to scale up the delivery of life-saving aid to the most vulnerable flood-affected people in need of shelter, clean water, food and health care assistance,” Abdelmoula said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

He said 8 million dollars from CERF will enable UN agencies and their partners to sustain and scale up their ongoing time-critical interventions in the worst-affected areas through the provision of food assistance, deployment of rapid response teams and support for health facilities, provision of non-food items and emergency shelter.

CERF funds will also be used to support the UN Humanitarian Air Service, which helps move essential humanitarian goods and personnel in areas that have been hard to reach due to floods, Abdelmoula said.

“It is crucial that we urgently deliver assistance to the people that have been affected by this crisis, but we also need to look into doing everything we can in the future to minimize the impact of these recurrent floods,” he said.

According to the UN, the 10.7 million dollars from the SHF supports priority life-saving humanitarian interventions of national and international non-governmental partners operating in the most affected areas through integrated and cluster-specific interventions, in close alignment with the CERF-funded response.

Moderate to heavy rains that started in October have caused flooding in low-lying areas along the Shabelle and Juba rivers, destroying infrastructure, farmlands and roads, disrupting livelihoods.

An estimated 370,000 people have been displaced due to floods as of November 5, amid risks of malnutrition and disease outbreak such as malaria and acute watery diarrhea (AWD) in many flood-affected settlements.

The UN and partners estimate that at least 55 million dollars more is required for the immediate life-saving response to floods.