Floods Update 25 Mar 1998

Bi-Weekly Report / 12.3. - 25.3.1998.

Number of people reported killed since the beginning of the flood emergency end of October 97: confirmed deaths: 2,409.
Number of people remaining vulnerable: approximately 1 Million.
Number of livestock lost: more than 35,000.
Food stocks destroyed: more than 60,000 hectares of crops and farmland destroyed. Famine Early Warning System (FEWS)/Somalia estimates losses of Gu crops in traditional underground granaries due to the floods and rain water seepage at 42,300 tones. The upcoming harvest is estimated to be reduced by at least 50,500 tones from the initial projection of 95,000 tones to 44,500 tones.

Situation Update: The situation in the flood-affected areas of southern Somalia has reached a critical stage. The up-coming rainy season - late March to May - could not only destroy the little recovery that has been achieved i.e. in the sectors of agriculture and infrastructure, but it could put people's lives again at risk. A build-up of clouds has been reported from many locations. Light showers were recorded in various areas. In Bardera rains were more heavy and they affected many sections of the roads in the area. With rivers full and embankments broken in numerous places, renewed rainfall would be devastating at this stage for many critically flood-affected areas. A second flood-emergency cannot be excluded.

Broken River Embankments: WFP reports that numerous sites of broken river banks have been noted along the Shabelle river. Most sites could be rehabilitated with the help of sandbags if acted promptly. Such action could help to prevent serious renewed flooding. The sites recorded include: Murale, Eesow, Majabto and Fornale in the Jennale area, Gaywarow, Jazira, Dharsheynley, Malayley and Haduuman in the Quorioley area, Afgoye-Yare, Garawle, Habaabshe, Arbow Heerow and Belet Warbo in the area of Kurtun Waarey, broken sites were also reported from the Sablaale area, the Awdegle area (8 broken sites in Jilaal Mooge and 10 broken sites at the western river bank). 10 broken sites could be found at the western river bank of Jowhar- Awdegle to Mubarak and 12 broken sites at the eastern side of the river. A large area is broken in Bariire area at the eastern side of the river bank at Shaan village. 7 villages in the surrounding of Jowhar on the western side of the river could be protected by flood-prevention methods (Moiko, Kori, Halgan, Kongo, Nukay, Mandhere and Daymosamo). On the eastern side the villages listed are: Tugarey, Gaashaanle, Raqayle and Bay Xawo. As particularly delicate sites Mandhere village/Balad district and the Chinese Canal between Warmaxan-Wanle Weyne were mentioned in the report.

Health: Cholera and malaria continue to cause major concern in the flood affected areas and international agencies focus their efforts on combating the various diseases. WHO reports that the total number of cholera cases reported by international organisations and local authorities rose to 7,730 cases with 332 deaths (case fatality: 4.3%) by 20 March. - Cases of measles continued to be reported in Mogadishu. An intensified vaccination program is presently going on.

Food Aid: WFP reports that, from January to 15 March 1998, it supplied a total of 6,933 mt of relief food benefiting the most vulnerable people in Central and Southern Somalia . In total, 1,008,000 rations were delivered within this period. The agency says that in order to ensure that the food reaches the most vulnerable and needy people , it established 50 delivery locations in Lower and Middle Juba, Lower and Middle Shabelle, Hiraan, Gedo, Bay and Bakool regions. - On 13 and 14 March, a WFP mission visited Berdale and Tieglow to witness food distributions to surrounding villages. The majority of recipients were reportedly women who had come to the distribution points with donkey carts, camels or on foot.

Assistance: So far, donations for the Flood-Relief-Operation in its second phase have been confirmed by Italy (USD 500,000), Japan (2,500 mt of food), Denmark (1,900 mt of food), USAID (USD 4,096,000 plus 3,620 mt of food) and Ireland (USD 68,000), the Government of Oman (USD 100,000) and Norway (400,000 USD in kind).

I. Reports from the Field:

Hagar : Ligth showers were reported during the past week. - ARC reports that the number of displaced families in Hagar town decreased from 1,050 families to 750 families. Many families were able to return to their original homes. Food availability in markets is increasing and prices are going down slightly. The sanitation condition is improving and chlorination of water wells is taking place. Bloody diarrhea is still a major concern in Hagar district. Roads from Bualle to Hagar are opening up.

Afmadow district : Light showers were reported during the past week. ARC reports that roads are opening up from Afmadow to Bualle and Dhobley (only partially to Dhobley for small vehicles, no lorries), but the road to Hagar remains closed. Malnutrition is decreasing slightly as food and livestock products become more available on the local markets. Market prices are dropping gradually. Chlorination of water wells continues. Malaria is still wide spread in the district. - Few light showers were reported from Bilis Quoqani over the last week. - In Tabta and Hayo flood waters are still present, but they are receding. - Dhobley is reported to be still in need of food. The road to Kenya is open but remains difficult due to bandit activity.

Bardera: UNICEF reports that recent rains affected the roads in the area. Some roads are covered with water and long detours have to be made through the bush in certain places. The road from Bardera to Fafaduun and on to El-Wak on the Kenyan border remains impassable. As a result of the flood emergency, all roads in the district have been badly damaged. Although basic repairs are made , without proper equipment roads can not be repaired properly. - UNICEF reports that the number of malaria-cases remains high and has taken a major toll on children. Most deaths reported presently occur from malaria and are found among children under 5. Most of the surviving children are said to be severely malnourished. BP5 is being distributed to mothers and children. UNICEF reports that, since 12 February the organization's mobile team visited 42 villages in the district to deliver drugs. 1,567 young children were vaccinated against measles and 4,475 women were immunized against tetanus. Vitamin A was supplied to 4,862 beneficiaries. A social mobilization campaign was conducted by the Bardera drama group who gave 20 performances around Bardera. The Bardera hospital outreach team visited 13 villages from 7 to 21 March to deliver drugs, it also immunized 2,616 children against measles and 2,507 women against tetanus.- Sorghum is presently being harvested.

Bay: UNICEF reports that its mobile team visited 25 villages in the Bay region to deliver drugs. 15 wells were pumped, cleaned and chlorinated, 41 other wells were cleaned and chlorinated. 1,595 young children were immunized against measles, 3,390 children were given vitamin A.

Jowhar: UNICEF reports that the road from Jowhar to Mogadishu is open but requires tractor assistance at Gololey.The river level is reportedly rising in the area. Cholera is still present: 7 new cases were reported. Malaria continues to cause major concern, however, first reports are coming in that it seems to be on the decrease in Middle Shabelle. A UNICEF team that visited several villages downriver to distribute drug supplies and to assess the situation found that the three villages of Kulmis, Raqailow and Bagdad had not been visited by any aid agency since the fall of Siad Barre's government. Bilharzia was found to be endemic, five villages visited had cases of cholera. A nutrition assessment in Kulmis indicated that 23 children out of 49 were malnourished, another 12 were found to be severely malnourished.

Belet Weyne: Very light rainfall was reported from Belet Weyne for a brief period last week. So far, the river level has not been affected, it is still reported to go down. Two recently opened cholera centers in the town could be closed as numbers of cases admitted dropped dramatically.- The joint SCF/OXFAM water and sanitation team reports that to date it rehabilitated 77 wells in Belet Weyne. The wells were pumped, cleaned and chlorinated and in several cases major rehabilitation work was completed. Over 200 pit latrine slabs were distributed, hygiene and education programmes continue. SCF says that the harvest in most areas looks good, a lot of maize has reportedly been harvested already. A seed distribution to destitute farmers had been funded by UNOPS last December so that seeds could be planted in areas where water receded.

The Somalia Inter-Agency Flood Response Operation was set up early November 97 to combat the flood emergency. The team includes UN agencies and NGOs who are working in close cooperation. The operation is run under the umbrella of the Somalia Aid Coordination Body and the overall management of the Office of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator.

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