Somalia

Floods devastate Somaliland

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Somali Red Crescent mother and child clinics have come under extra pressure following severe flooding in the region.

Somaliland's rainy season, which lasts from April to June, has seen heavy rainfall and flash flooding. Hundreds of people in the towns of Hargiesa and Burao have lost their homes and belongings and the region's infrastructure has been devastated.

As a result the Somali Red Crescent mother and child clinics, which provide the region's only reliable healthcare network, have come under extra pressure.

"These floods have had a devastating impact on people who were already extremely vulnerable," said Justin Dell, British Red Cross expert for East Africa. "Somaliland has suffered from years of drought, so it is a tragedy that when the rains come, they end up causing even more devastation.

"Women and children who have lost their homes and are sleeping rough are particularly at risk from catching diseases spread by dirty water and poor sanitation.

He added: "The Red Crescent mother and child clinics, which are already overstretched, have been treating many more people suffering from respiratory illnesses and waterborne diseases such as dysentery.

"In many parts of Somaliland, these clinics are the only source of healthcare. At times like this, it is vital that we continue to support them."

Over the next 12 months Deutsche Bank staff, who chose the British Red Cross as their charity of the year 2005/6, will be taking part in fundraising activities to raise over =A3300,000 for the clinics.