Floods cause displacement in Somaliland*

Heavy rains have displaced many residents in the mid-eastern regions of the self-declared republic of Somaliland.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, between 300 and 400 families, mainly in Qorilugud district and Taalobuur village, in Togdheer region, have been affected.

The chairman of Somaliland's Environment Research and Disaster Preparedness and Management Authority, Mohamed Moussa Awale, told IRIN about 600 families in the regions of Sahil and Togdheer had been displaced.

Togdheer Governor Abdo Aayir Osman said that food stores in Qorilugud District and areas such as Daba-Qabad, Taalobuur, Bali-Alanle and Gubato had been damaged and that some livestock had drowned.

In Sahil Region's capital, Berbera, several old buildings collapsed, and some traditional Somali huts were also destroyed, Awale said, noting that Somaliland's Red Crescent Society had distributed tents to the affected people there.

Qorilugud mayor Said Mohamoud Sheikh Abdi told IRIN that most of the houses in the district were destroyed after a water storage dam there was breached, flooding settlements from 26 to 27 October. Floodwaters reached about two feet above the ground level.

About 2,800 people there are now in need of shelter, food and non-food items, according to the district's officials.

The eastern and mid-western regions of Somaliland have received erratic rains in past couple of years. "It is the first time such rains [have been] received in the last 12 years," said Mayor Abdi.

Nimo Mohamoud Mohame, a mother of nine, was among those whose families have been forced out by the flooding. "After several hours of rain, our house [a traditional Somali hut] was filled with water, and we sought refuge near the near hills," she said. "Now we are at a hill called Bali-Hassan [5km north of Qorilugud], and we need food, shelter and household items because all of our households were [destroyed] by the floods."

Officials are also concerned about possible outbreaks of waterborne disease. "[A] number of toilets collapsed, and there is fear of the outbreak of cholera if we do not act now. The displaced need water chlorination, water pumps, plastic sheets, utensils, blankets and foodstuff," Omar Jama, chairman of the local NGO Taakul Somaliland Community, told IRIN.


*This report was revised on 5 November to reflect new data from OCHA.