Beledweyne(Mogadishu24)-The chairman of the Baledweyne floods management committee, Haji Osman Dhagahow, on Monday announced that he has resigned from his position, following dysfunction came to the dam operations caused by excessive intervention.

“On October 23, 2023, I am informing the people of Hiiraan that I am stepping down from the position of chairman of the Baledweyne flood management committee. I also pledge to personally collaborate with everyone working for the development and well-being of the people of Hiiraan,” Dhagahow said.

He emphasized that the committee has achieved huge progress in the dam projects, including the high-quality walls they constructed along the riverbanks in the areas of Qoqane and Hikilyo over the past three years.

“When we initiated this effort, the river’s waters displaced us two or three times a year. Recognizing the problem, we took an action. We have had no major floods for three consecutive years. The water that came earlier this year was excessive, reportedly not seen in the last 100 years, causing the rise in water levels,” said Haji Dhagahow.

He mentioned that the unregulated activities related to dam construction by various organizations, NGOs, and contractors over the past few years were not part of the committee’s plan and work. 

He called for accountability for individuals who controlled the water canals in Dhagax Jibis area, leading to flooding in certain Baledweyne neighborhoods.

“There have been organizations, NGOs, and contractors working on dam projects without proper oversight. It should be clarified that the flood management committee was not involved, and the public should be aware of that,” stated the chairman.

“Moreover, accountability is important. Those responsible for the events that occurred in Baledweyne last night, which evacuated many people from their homes in the middle of the night, should be held accountable,” he added.

This resignation comes at a time when the federal government of Somalia has redoubled its efforts to mitigate the impacts of floods in areas surrounding the Shabelle and Jubba rivers.

Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, the Director of the Forecasting and Water Monitoring Department at the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, emphasized the potential effects of rainfall exceeding 200mm that are expected in Southern and Central Somalia regions. 

“In the past two weeks, heavy rains have fallen in Somalia, which were forecasted for the past few months. For instance, in Baidoa, there was heavy rainfall of 250mm, leading to severe flooding. There were also heavy rains in Luuq and Beledweyne districts, causing flooding and mass displacement,” Hassan said.

“Heavy rains are forecasted to fall in the Southern and Central Somalia regions, which could cause huge risks to the people living in these areas,” he added.

He highlighted the efforts made by the Federal government and the Hirshabelle State administration to counter potential flood threats.

“The federal government, in collaboration with the Hirshabelle State administration, has been working on projects aimed at reducing flood risks in areas surrounding the rivers. These projects include the construction of walls or barriers to control the river water and minimize flooding. Dams have also been constructed to reduce the volume of floodwater,” the director explained.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change expressed deep concerns about this impending crisis and the imminent danger posed by potential floods during this rainy season.

The Ministry urged all citizens, particularly those residing in riverine regions, to exercise the utmost vigilance and adopt extraordinary measures to protect themselves and their communities during this rainy season.

The Somalia Humanitarian Fund allocated USD 15 million to respond to the projected El Niño-induced flooding’s impact on the most vulnerable communities in Hirshabelle (Middle Shabelle and Hiiraan regions) and Jubaland (Gedo Region), which have historically experienced severe flooding in Somalia.

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