UN warns of severe flooding in Somalia

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MOGADISHU, SOMALIA - OCTOBER 11: Somalians pass through flood waters after heavy rains in Mogadishu caused floods, at the Refugee Camp in southern Mogadishu, Somalia on October 11, 2014. (Photo by Nour Gelle Gedi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOGADISHU, SOMALIA – OCTOBER 11: Somalians pass through flood waters after heavy rains in Mogadishu caused floods, at the Refugee Camp in southern Mogadishu, Somalia on October 11, 2014. (Photo by Nour Gelle Gedi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations  on Saturday warned of the high risk of severe flooding in Somalia amid rising water river levels.

According to the latest flood bulletin released in Mogadishu, at least 150,000 people are at immediate risk from imminent floods as river levels in parts of the country continue to rise due to torrential rains.

In a statement, Ezana Kassa, Head of Programme for FAO in Somalia said that it was time to act to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the people who will be affected by this unprecedented flood.

According to FAO, the Shabelle River has risen at an alarming rate over the past week due to the heavy rains, adding that rains on the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands are causing large volumes of water to flow rapidly towards Somalia.

As with the previous three years, the UN food agency warned of a flood wave likely to inundate Beletweyne, one of the largest towns in Somalia, in the coming days.

FAO said the level of damage expected could supersede the mitigation and risk measures that have already been implemented, such as rehabilitating river embankments and, in recent years, a limited evacuation from flood-prone areas and extensive crop damage is likely to result.

Chris Print, Senior Land and Water Advisor from FAO Somalia said there is a climate emergency in Somalia and in the region, noting that the impacts of climate change on people will be felt mainly through water, driven by pattern shifts in regional weather, particularly rainfall and extreme events

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