(ERGO) – With the onset of the Deyr rains expected to last through November, humanitarian actors in flood-prone Middle Shabelle region are acting to shore up the damaged river banks that often lead to flooding.
A World Food Programme (WFP)-funded project implemented by a local non-governmental organisation, INTERSOM, is working to rehabilitate several canals damaged during flooding mid this year.
The project, which started in July, comprises building an embankment and reconstruction of damaged canals in four villages near Jowhar town in Middle Shabelle.
An official from INTERSOM, who spoke to Radio Ergo on condition of anonymity owing to security reasons, said the project aims to reconstruct sections of two dykes and maintain two canals to guard against flooding that has caused significant damage during heavy rains.
The official said the work extends along a distance of four kilometres.
Over 750,000 people were affected by flash floods countrywide this year. Riverine regions stretching along the Juba and Shabelle rivers were worst affected. Over 200,000 people were displaced from their homes.
The Somali Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM), a project of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), warned in its August briefing of the likelihood of flooding with heavy rains expected in the highlands of Ethiopia where both rivers Juba and Shabelle originate.
The Shabelle River is worst affected owing to the topography of the area, uncontrolled irrigation activities, and poor river basin management following the collapse of pre-war flood control infrastructure, SWALIM noted.
According to INTERSOM, over 250 people from Gambe, Bananey, Kalundi and Barey villages of Middle Shabelle are working on the project under the WFP Food-for-Assets initiative, which sees community members work on an assigned project in exchange for food rations for them and their families.
Mohamud Ismail, deputy chairperson of Bananey farmers’ association, told Radio Ergo every individual working on the project is required to dig two metres deep and is paid $75 per month for a duration of four months.