Beletweyne residents protect themselves against expected floodsPhoto | Sawir/waddada la dhisayo/Beledwayne/Makaraan/Ergo
People living near the river in Beletweyne are taking steps to prevent their homes from being washed away as the Deyr seasonal rains approach.
A fund of $5,000 has been raised from contributions by residents and businesses, which will be used to build a flood barricade aimed at preventing the main road from being cut off by water flowing down from the highlands.
In the past, Beletweyne’s eastern neighborhoods have suffered bouts of severe flooding, leading to the displacement of thousands of people and the destruction of large amounts of property and farmland.
“Everyone in this town donates what he can afford while the business community plays a key important role in community affairs,” said Omar Dahir, one of the project leaders.
Halimo Hussein, who lives in Koshin estate, said she hopes the community works will enable her to stay safe and sound in her house despite the heavy rains that are forecast. She told Radio Ergo’s local reporter that the project to keep the Laanta Tiimbo road open would enable people to escape from town quickly if dangerous flood levels forced them to do so.
“Previously, people found they had no exit route whenever the floods came, as the major roads in the town and surroundings were cut off. This meant the weak, children and elderly people as well as the animals got caught in the raging floods because they could not escape,” she said.
Halimo recalled that 12 people including children and old people did in severe flooding three years ago. The roads were blocked preventing rescue teams from helping those trapped by the water. Koshin has always been the worst hit by seasonal flooding due to its low lying location with hills surrounding it.
In April, floods destroyed buildings and livestock in Koshin leaving many people displaced. This month’s rains are expected to much heavier, driven by the El Nino phenomenon.