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Somalia security forces evacuate flood victims from Belet Weyne | Coastweek

BELET WEYNE Somalia (AMISOM) -- Djibouti troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) recue flood victims in Beletweyne. This large center in the prosperous HirShabelle State is currently experiencing its worst flooding and many civilians have been displaced. AMISOM PHOTOS

Somalia security forces evacuate flood victims from Belet Weyne

BELET WEYNE Somalia (AMISOM) -- A team comprising African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops and Somali national security forces has evacuated more than 10,000 people marooned by the raging floods in Belet Weyne, HirShabelle state.

The rescue mission was led by the Col Abdourahman Rayale Hareed, the Commander of Djibouti’s Hiil 5 Battalion, who appealed for food and medical supplies to help the flood victims.

"We are taking part in the evacuation of Somali people so as to rescue them from flooded areas and take them to a place near Eel Jaale far from floods," said Col Hareed.

"As you can see there is need for transport, we have used vehicles that we could get to evacuate these people.

"They need urgent assistance with items such as food and water," Col. Hareed, who was accompanied by Somali national security forces, added.

According to the Federal Government of Somalia, more than 175,000 have been displaced and over 400,000 affected by the floods in different parts of the country, following heavy rains which have been pounding parts of the country since May.

Residents of Belet Weyne are among the worst hit, after river Shabelle, which originates in Ethiopian Highlands, burst its banks leaving many homeless and without a source of livelihood.

The evacuated residents were moved to higher ground.

The Commander of Belet Weyne Police Station, Mohamed Maow Halane, thanked the joint AMISOM and Somali forces rescue team for evacuating the affected residents.

"Forces from the military, police and AMISOM, especially Djiboutian troops have given us valuable assistance; as you can see from the transport support, said Mr. Halane.

"The military and police vehicles together have helped rescue people from the flooded villages.

"Only the AMISOM trucks could access the villages yesterday and the day before," he added.

In its report released last week, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) in Somalia warned that the heavy rains were worsening conditions in overcrowded Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) settlements and displacing more people along riverine areas due to flooding.

The settlements have limited access to hygiene facilities, thus heightening the risk of communicable diseases.

According to the OCHA report, 246,000 people are at risk of flash floods in Baidoa, Southwest state, while in Jubbaland approximately 28,200 people have been displaced by floods, which swept away home, shelters, farms and livestock.

In Belet Weyne, more than 200, 000 people are at risk of being affected by floods after River Shabelle burst its banks, forcing many to flee the town to higher grounds.


African Union Mission in Somalia praises 17 officers for illustrious service

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has honored 17 police officers for distinguished service in the Horn of Africa nation.

The officers from various police contributing countries (PCCs), who have completed their tour of duty, were decorated with medals and awarded certificates for their dedicated service in Somalia.

Christine Alalo, Acting AMISOM Police Commissioner, in a statement issued on Tuesday lauded the officers for their dedicated service and called on others to emulate them in their duties.

"It is a call to everybody that when you are here, put in your best because we are here to ensure that we lift our Somali counterparts from the stage where they were to the next stage, which should be even better than where we found them," Alalo said.

The achievements of the group, Alalo noted, include helping revive the Interpol Department of the Somali Police Force (SPF), establishment of a data base and helping the Somali Police set up a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) security system.

Of the 17, seven officers are from Kenya, six from Sierra Leone, three from Uganda and one from Zambia. Other Police Contributing Countries (PCCs) include Nigeria and Ghana.

The AMISOM official also lauded regional countries for deploying the officers to Somalia, saying the gesture was a sign of true Pan Africanism of helping a neighbor in need.

The AMISOM Police component is made up of the Formed Police Units (FPUs) and Individual Police Officers (IPOs). FPUs provide operational support, while the IPOs train, mentor and advice the SPF officers.

African Union Mission in Somalia seeks to strengthen
ties between Somali police and public

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said on Tuesday that it has kicked off a week-long training to enhance communication skills of Somali police officers to help improve their interaction with members of the public.

The AU mission said the training aims to strengthen relations between security officers and the public and help Somali Police establish communication departments, within the force, in all the federal member states.

Simon Mulongo, Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, said the training, organized by the police component of AMISOM, is being attended by officers drawn from Mogadishu and the five federal member states.

"As part of your work as a police force in this country, you need to have skills, knowledge and capabilities to make people know what the police force in Somalia stands for and you can do this by speaking out," Mulongo said in a statement.

He described the training as timely, adding that the skills learned will help improve cooperation between officers and the public on security matters.

He noted that the training was part of the transition plan, which requires AMISOM to prepare Somali national security institutions to take over the country’s security once AMISOM’s mandate comes to an end.

Flash floods affect close to 700,000 in Somalia: World Health Organization

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- More than 695,000 people have been affected by flash floods and river floods caused by ongoing heavy rainfall in Somalia, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

According to WHO, out of the figure, nearly 215,000 people have been displaced in the last few days as most flooding occurred in the regions of Bakool, Banadir, Bay, Hiraan, Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Middle Shabelle.

"Urgent needs of the afflicted communities include shelter, food, health, nutritional supplies, access to water and sanitation, latrines, mosquito nets and tents," WHO said in a statement released on Tuesday evening.

The UN agency warned that flooding can trigger the transmission of water-borne and vector-borne diseases, such as cholera, malaria and dengue fever, and contaminate water sources.

It said health authorities and WHO have alerted the Early Warning System in Somalia and agency’s communicable disease surveillance officers to look out for the emergence of any waterborne or vector-borne diseases to respond to and manage any resulting disease outbreaks in a timely manner.

WHO said in its close collaboration with the ministry of health said it has airlifted and prepositioned 30.1 tonnes of emergency medical supplies to Belet Weyne, Baidoa and Kismayo to treat illnesses commonly spread during emergencies as part of an immediate response.

"These provisions include basic, essential, medical drugs, oral rehydration supplies (ORS), water-testing kits and cholera treatment supplies.

Similar medical supplies will soon be sent to the South West and Jubaland States," it said.

However, the UN health agency estimates an additional 2 million U.S. dollars will be required to purchase and distribute emergency supplies to other flood-affected areas.

These resources, it said, would also fund staff needed to deliver services; monitoring and response to disease outbreaks; and the coordination of all these efforts.

According to WHO, one of the worst-hit areas includes BeletWeyne, Hiraan, in the Hirshabelle State, where more than 120 000 people—some of whom have already been displaced from their original homes - were forced to flee riverine villages after the Shabelle River burst its banks, destroying houses and crops.

Somalis have suffered from natural calamities and civil strife over the years and endured drought, disease outbreaks, and insecurity among other challenges.

This, according to WHO, has resulted in malnutrition, poor access to health, and prevalent poverty all across the country.

Ghulam Popal, WHO Representative for Somalia, however, warned that the needs are outrunning the support available and called for urgent action to respond to this emergency.

"A well-coordinated response by authorities, and local and international organizations averted a cholera epidemic last year.

"We need a similar response again, now, to save livelihoods and prevent the spread of diseases among an already vulnerable society," said Popal.

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