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Somali families up to their waists in water in flooded homes in Afgoye

Wednesday July 29, 2020

(ERGO) – Sahra Omar Mohamed has been living crammed in to a neighbour’s house with her 14 children since their own home was submerged by sudden river floods in Afgoye, in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region.

“The waters rushed into our house at around 10am and soon rose up to our hips. We had to flee with the children and leave everything else behind,” Sahra told Radio Ergo.

“It was scary because the river waters carry snakes and other dangerous creatures. Already two children in the area have been bitten and one of them has died.”

Sahra’s family depends on the earnings of her eldest son, who owns a donkey cart transporting vegetables to the market. However, since the floods hit on 11 July he has not had any work to do.

The head of social affairs at Afgoye district administration, Abdullahi Hassan Abdi, told Radio Ergo that he has never seen such widespread flooding before, affecting areas including Dhagahtur, Damaley, Elqode, Aytire, Sabiid, Raqayle and Anole.

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“If the river was overflowing in one or two areas, we would have been able to reinforce the breach with sandbags, but the force of this water was such that it rose above the entire stream of the river,” he said.

Khadijo Hussein, who fled Anole to higher ground in Sabiid, told Radio Ergo that all the residents in Anole were forced to abandon their homes. She said the flood waters were still rising in the area.

“We have no work, no food, no shelter. Whole families are sharing a room, we can’t even find a place to rent,” she exclaimed.

Mohamed Abukar Ahmed, the administrator of the area covering Sabiid, Anole, Mordinle and Belad Amin, said agricultural land, 12 km outside Afgoye town, were also under water preventing farmers from bringing in food to sell.

“These floods have caused incalculable damage to homes and farms. There is nowhere to go, all the residents are crowding up in the few dry places,” he said.

South West state’s humanitarian affairs minister, Abdinasir Arush, told Radio Ergo that the floods had affected over 6,000 families, many of whom are now in urgent need of assistance, including food, water, and shelter. An estimated 2,300 families had been displaced from their home.

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