The Wabe Shebelle river burst its banks last weekend after 10 days of heavy rain in the highlands, drowning thousands of livestock, wrecking crops and submerging scores of villages.
Gouled Ahmed, head of the region's Disaster Prevention Department, said three of the 17 dead were eaten by crocodiles that were flushed into residential areas by the raging waters.
The remote region is prone to droughts and flooding. Scores of people died last year after weeks of heavy downpours.
(Reporting by Tsegaye Tadesse; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
- Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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