Beledweyne-(Mogadishu24)-A high-level delegation, led by the Commissioner of the Somali Disaster Management Agency, Mahamuud Moallim, and the UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) George Conway, visited Beledweyne city, the capital of the Hiiraan region, on Saturday to assess the humanitarian situation in the region and its preparedness for a potential El Niño rains that could result in severe flooding.

“We have come to Beledweyne today to review and understand the upcoming rainy season, which could be influenced by the global El Niño phenomenon. We are aware that El Niño’s impact during the rainy season is likely to bring excessive rainfall, leading to significant flood risks, particularly along the Shabelle and Juba rivers,” said George Conway, the UN DSRSG.

Mr. Conway highlighted the adverse effects of flooding from the Shabelle River on the region, which displaced over 200,000 families earlier this year.

“Hirshabelle has historically been flood-prone and experienced floods earlier this year during the ‘Gu’u’ rainy season, which displaced over 200,000 people. So, we are very concerned about the upcoming rainy season and the potential for similar or even more significant impacts,” he noted.

The delegation visited IDP camps in the city and met with families living there to address their humanitarian concerns.

“We had the opportunity to visit an IDP camp in Beledweyne and looked at the status of support they are receiving from local stakeholders, the government, and the international community,” added the United Nations Deputy Special Representative.

The UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General emphasized the need for a long-term solution to manage flood risks in the flood-prone areas.

“We also had the opportunity to visit the embankment work that has been done over the years at the Shabelle river to discuss the need for a longer flood management strategy and plan for Beledweyne  and for the neighbourhoods as a whole in order to look at what it would take to more sustainably and durably manage flood risks sin Hirshabelle state and along the Juba river for the future,” he added.

This visit came just two days after 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 Hiraan regions) and Jubaland (Gedo Region), which have historically experienced severe flooding in Somalia.

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