(ERGO) – Nearly 200 families in Garsoor neighborhood in Galkayo, central Somalia, have been left homeless by severe flash flooding that destroyed homes, businesses, and schools.
Awo Mohamud Abdi and her family of 10 have been living with relatives since 25 October when flood water inundated their three-room house.
“The rooms, toilets, beds, clothes and even the food got wet. We used to deal with flood water coming into our house, but this was different, there was barely a dry place to stand. The children’s clothing has been washed away, the sugar and flour also got wet,” she said.
Awo used to earn $4-5 a day selling samosas in town but has had to give that up.
“As we are now living with another family, I have to take care of the children and protect them, and we now depend on my husband for a living. Some days he makes an income and sometimes he doesn’t and that’s how we get meals,” she said.
At night, they squeeze into the single room made of iron sheets and during the daytime sit outside in the host family’s compound. Awo says her children are sick probably with malaria due to the stagnant water around and many mosquitoes.
Seynab Sheikh Mohamed and her family were also victims of the flooding. She took 12 kgs of flour, rice, and sugar from their relative’s store and moved her family to a rental house for $30 a month. They had to leave their own house due to the inundation of flood water mixed with sewage.
“There was a large volume of water and that caused the sewage to spill over, the water was gushing and quickly flooded our houses, there was barely a place to sleep or even stand,” she said.
Her husband is sick with watery diarrhoea after consuming contaminated water. He supported his family from a small shop that was washed away.
Seynab’s three children have been at home since 23 October as Barda’ad school, where they received free education, closed after being flooded.
The principal of Barda’ad school, Bashir Bare Ali, told Radio Ergo that all 16 classrooms were flooded. They paid $200 for water trucks to try to extract the water but efforts failed.
“In previous years, we used to remove the water ourselves. But this time was different, we have never seen this magnitude of floodwater. There is barely a dry place in the school, there is flood water in every corner,” he said.
The school’s 400 students are at home whilst exams were due to be in progress. Four other schools in the area also closed.
“You can understand the impact. The learning process has stopped. We will try to find a solution but it’s a challenge. We are already in November and the water has still not dried up,” the principal said.
The head of public sanitation in Galkayo, Bile Gacur Dahir, told Radio Ergo that dealing with the floods was beyond their capacity. The department had managed to supply chlorine for water sources.
“There are two reasons for the devastation caused: the land is low lying, and the houses are old and could not withstand the flood,” said Bile.
Around 28 houses are reported to have been destroyed in what locals say are the worst floods to have hit Garsoor.