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Displaced Somalis hit by heavy flooding

Briefing notes

Displaced Somalis hit by heavy flooding

7 October 2008

Torrential rains and strong winds have hit a string of settlements for hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Somalis between Mogadishu and Afgooye, destroying makeshift shelters and leaving many homeless once again. Ten hours of heavy rain fell overnight Sunday, flooding many shelters and forcing many people to return to their homes in war-torn Mogadishu, despite the dangers.

Many people are once again homeless, although we don't have exact numbers. Some 300,000 displaced people have been staying in flimsy, temporary shelters along the Afgooye corridor, west of Mogadishu. Most of them fled fighting in the capital in 2007 and earlier this year. More than 40,000 have received shelter assistance from UNHCR.

Initial reports indicate that rains and wind mainly struck IDP settlements in the Kurtunwarrey district, near Afgooye, and in Marka district near Mogadishu.

UNHCR is now planning to distribute 3,500 assistance kits for 21,000 people. The kits contain plastic sheeting, blankets, kitchen sets and sleeping mats.

The sudden and heavy flooding is worsening an already dramatic situation in war-torn Somalia, where over 1 million people are displaced. Some 700,000 people fled Mogadishu last year alone. Since the beginning of the year, another 170,000 people were forced to leave the Somali capital, including over 35,000 in recent weeks. People are currently escaping fighting described as the worst since the beginning of the latest insurgency in February 2007.