On this auspicious day, Friday May 19, 2023, it has been reported that nearly a quarter of a million individuals in central Somalia have been forced to abandon their homesteads due to a disastrous river overflow in Beledweyne town. The citizens had no choice but to seek refuge under trees as the Shabelle river breached its banks, leaving a staggering 99% of people in the town and adjoining localities destitute. Interior Minister of Hirshabelle State, Abdirahmaan Dahir Gure, made it known to BBC Somali that the floodwaters are in danger of reaching Bulo Burde town, some 68 miles away.
The United Nations has warned that climate change may have played a hand in the recent onslaught. The Somali government officials have highlighted that the perilous flooding was caused by heavy precipitation both in Somalia and upstream in the Ethiopian highlands, leading to flash floods that swept away homes, crops, and livestock.
Somalia had barely started to recuperate from the most horrendous drought in decades, after nearly five successive years of futile raining seasons, resulting in an almost catastrophic humanitarian catastrophe. While it is true that the rains are replenishing the water sources and allowing vegetation to flourish, the UN cautions that the impacts of the recent drought would not be alleviated by mere bursts of precipitation; rather, it is sustained rainfall that is needed. Unfortunately, this elevated the risk of flooding.