Somali city’s floods drove 250,000 out.

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The Shabelle river in central Somalia overflowed its banks and flooded the town of Beledweyne, forcing nearly a quarter-million people to flee their homes during the worst drought in four decades.

While those affected are among those who contribute the least to CO2 emissions, aid agencies and scientists have warned that climate change is one of the key factors hastening humanitarian crises.

Flash floods caused by seasonal rains in Somalia and upstream in the Ethiopian highlands hit Beledweyne, the capital of the Hiraan region, forcing the temporary closure of schools and hospitals.

The entire metropolis was suddenly submerged. Beledweyne was compared to an ocean by trader Ahmed Nur, whose store was destroyed.

All that could be seen were housetops. “We rescued people by using small boats and tractors,” he said.

Nur has been staying with relatives on the outskirts of the city as the end of the devastating drought approaches.

We rejoiced when it began to rain. Farmers, he explained, “planted their crops.”

According to UN estimates, the death toll from last year’s drought, violence, and subsequent rise in food prices was 43,000.

According to the United Nations humanitarian office (OCHA), 22 people have been killed and over 460,000 have been affected by the floods that have been raging across the country since mid-March.

According to the Somali Disaster Management Agency, floods in Beledweyne have displaced over 245,000 people.

“Recovery from six consecutive seasons of poor rainfall performance will take time,” said OCHA in a May 14 report.

The rains are reviving vegetation and replenishing water supplies, but OCHA reports that much more rain is needed to fully mitigate the effects of the recent drought.

At least one Beledweyne resident, Halima Abdullahi, said she’d had enough of disasters, making her one of the 216 million people the World Bank estimates will be forced to relocate within their own country by 2050 due to climate change.

The mother of her two young children announced that the family was leaving for remote villages. “Beledweyne does not exist any longer.”

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