May 29, 2024

WFP aids flood-affected families in Somalia to alleviate hunger.

WFP aids flood-affected families in Somalia to alleviate hunger.

Timothy Robbins in Somalia

The collaboration between WFP and government agencies aims to address the destructive pattern of droughts and floods caused by climate change.

A week ago, Bashir Abdi, along with his wife and nine children, sought refuge at the Iftin camp for displaced people near Beletweyne in central Somalia.

The flash floods compelled me to relocate. He says that water began to flood the village in the middle of the night.

He praises the helpful warning messages he received from the World Food Programme (WFP). We received complete instructions on what actions to take, where to go, and the necessity of gathering essential household items. The cash vouchers were very helpful.

Abdi is among the 700,000 individuals forced to leave their residences due to devastating floods in southern and central Somalia, exacerbated by El Niño climate conditions. He and his family moved to higher ground in Iftin from the deserted Wadi Shabelle, where empty tents are now sitting in stagnant water and foul-smelling mud.

Laura Turner, Deputy Country Director of WFP Somalia, stated that climate change has once again disproportionately affected the most susceptible individuals in Somalia. “We must empower communities with the resources and information necessary to withstand these extreme conditions, in order to end the ongoing cycle of hunger that has plagued Somalia for an extended period.”

Once the rainfall predictions reached critical levels, WFP took proactive measures by providing cash transfers to more than 200,000 individuals living in areas expected to be affected by flooding along the Juba and Shabelle rivers. The money allowed them to cover the costs of their relocation and purchase necessary items.

Smartly, WFP utilized local radio, loudspeakers, and cell phone voice messages to alert hundreds of thousands of additional individuals about the impending flood and to assist them in their preparations.

These efforts could result in a reduced number of individuals requiring immediate humanitarian aid in the event of a disaster. In Iftin, the arrival of this has come at the perfect moment for many people.

80-year-old Madina Odawye, who arrived at the camp shortly after Abdi with her three grandchildren, stated that she heard the radio broadcasts and received $70, which she used to purchase rice, pasta, and oil. “It provided assistance to us. ” “It arrived just when we needed it. ”

Today, Iftin is bustling with energy and activity. Other people who have been evacuated due to flooding are using a momentary break in the rain to construct temporary shelters using whatever materials they can gather, such as tree branches, old fabric, and corrugated iron. However, above us, the sky is beginning to darken once more. The return of the rains is causing the water levels to steadily increase.

In a few days, a significant portion of Beletweyne town will be submerged by floodwaters. Many families are on the roads, escaping in trucks and donkey carts, carrying lots of furniture and often with children sitting on top. The residents of Iftin can only wish that their new houses will remain unaffected by flooding.

The unfortunate pattern of drought and flood occurs repeatedly in Somalia. The increasing severity of seasonal droughts and floods due to climate change is exacerbating hunger levels to their highest in over ten years. By the conclusion of 2023, more than 4 million individuals, which is a quarter of the population, will be experiencing severe food shortages.

Abdi comments that this is the fourth occasion that they have been affected by floods, and the fourth time they have sought assistance. “We didn’t anticipate such sudden flash floods and we had no idea that our valley would flood so rapidly this time. ”

He mentions that there is a decrease in the availability of food and an increase in its price. The floods have caused widespread frustration for everyone. There are less chances for employment.