In response to reports that displaced families will be returning to their homes in Beledweyne in coming days, Save the Children’s Country Director for Somalia, Mohammed Mohammed Hassan, said:
“Although the water is now receding in and around the town of Beledweyne, and more families are preparing to go back to their homes in the coming days, we fear the worst is not yet over. It’s still raining in the Ethiopian highlands so we may experience more floods before this rainy season comes to an end.
“An estimated 240,000 people were displaced by the October and November floods in Beledweyne, and most of these people lost everything. They are going back to flood-ravaged homes and lost businesses. They need humanitarian support to rebuild their lives, or risk falling into further destitution.
“A year of repeated, devastating climate shocks have drained humanitarian resources and stretched our capacity to its limit. We simply don’t have enough money to meet the needs of returning families, so currently we won’t be able to sufficiently support them rebuild their lives once they return to their ruined homes. We need to urgently restore water sources and decontaminate them, to avoid the risk of disease, which can devastate a community. Children, as always, are the most vulnerable to water-borne diseases. As most part of Beledweyne town previously used pit latrines, we need funds in order to ensure there hasn’t been a cross-contamination of drinking water sources where these latrines mixed with flood waters. Safe toilets need to be built and made rapidly available. We need resources to restore schools, playgrounds and health families to ensure affected children are able to recover and continue their lives after a tumultuous few months.”