Baladweyne Residents Flee Floods as River Bursts Banks

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Thousands are fleeing Baladweyne town after residents of three districts were forced to evacuate and breaches allowed floods to sweep through the town in Somalia’s south.

Residents say Shabelle River has been overflowing its defenses over the past few days and high tides merged with the heavy runoff from further west.

The floods are the city’s worst for nearly a year and casualties inflicted upon residents are not immediately clear.

Some of roads of the town have reached gridlock, with many better-off residents heading for high altitude areas on the outskirts of Baladweyne. Residents in the western part of the town clamoured to board evacuation trucks.

The Atmosphere in Baladweyne in the wake of floods

The neighborhoods of Koshin, Hawo-tako, Bundowayn and Howl-wadag are the worst affected by the recent floods where waters submerged homes and roads. Floods also cut off power supplies in those areas, according to local officials.

Local officials told Somaliguardian on Tuesday that the crisis reached a critical point and that they spared no efforts despite insufficient resources.

Are there any efforts to cope with the crisis in Baladweyne?

Residents stacked sandbags on the banks before the river has begun to overflow its defenses several days ago and massive floodwater breached stopgap dykes, with no current efforts to manage it.

Local authorities have not yet taken any concrete steps to tackle breach in flood barriers and contain waters sweeping through the town.

Funds raised for the mitigation of Floods in Baladweyne

A committee of regional businesspeople assigned by residents had raised more than $1 million as part of funds designed to build dykes that could prevent repeated crisis after the city had been worst hit by floods nearly a year ago.

But residents now say the money had not been spent as intended and only a few sandbags were stacked on the river banks that were unable to hold off floodwater.

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