Beletweyne is the most populated district in Hiran region, located along the Shabelle River, 315 km northeast of Mogadishu. Beletweyne District like other districts in central and southern Somalia continues to suffer from recurrent conflicts between rivalry groups. The area has unique problem of seasonal flooding that causes severe damage, displacement and suffering.
Last year we saw pictures of thousands of people that fled from the water masses. The 188mm rains that fell overnight were equivalent to an entire year’s rainfall. Twenty-five people were killed in the flooding, while more than 20,000 others were displaced. Over 5 000 livestock also drowned. The flooding is a consequence of a multiplicity of factors including; over flow of the river banks, poor drainage and blockages within the town, flush floods from the surrounding hills, weak river banks associated with breaching and or poor maintenance, uncontrolled flow of the reservoirs upstream in Ethiopia which open their gates without coordination and early warning, and embankment cultivation.
Poor urban planning has taken its toll on the town of Beletweyn and the growth of slums and shanty settlement increased in the town. There were six main city drainage channels that used to collect rain water within the town and from the hills into the river. All are blocked or obstructed by private construction. Blocked drainage systems create stagnant pools of water that flood buildings, cause destruction and disease: cholera outbreaks are common in Beletweyne. Poor drainage therefore contributes to the regular flooding alongside the uncoordinated management of the Ethiopian catchment and upstream reservoirs.
Flood protectioan and canal rehabilitation program
With the purpose of reducing flood risks and human impacts of Shabelle River, Flood Protection and Canal Rehabilitation Program were initiated and instigated through combined efforts of three humanitarian agencies namely Yme/GSA/ NorSom, funded by the Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs. The initial overall objective of the program is defined as “Disaster risk reduction of flood effects through rehabilitation flood mitigation and relief infrastructures and community training of Waraaboole and Gambarlaawe villages.
Good help from the local administration and communities
The project which composed on rehabilitation of canals, repairing of flood infrastructures and community trainings started on 5th march 2014 and until today has been ongoing on focused. In its execution, the project team and the participating communities have fulfilled their obligations with all planned targets achieved on schedule. In overall, the project has been very successful and its effectiveness is noticeable particularly at wider community and household level. With help of the Beltlweyn Local Administratioin and target communities, a vibrant team from implementing agencies, comprising of managerial and technical members had timely executed the planned activities.
Mobilizations and trainings
The principal objective of the community meetings and discussions that took place in all target villages was to promote the community participation and contribution to the project. Community meetings and discussion were also discussed, the intended interventions. The project supported 2 trainings with attendance of 65 participants from target communities The trainings were focused on management and maintenance of community owned resources Flood Protection Infrastructures, social resource mobilisation, organizational development, book keeping, teamwork, community ownership and participation. The Community Management Committees were elected, constituted and fully in-charge for the operation and maintenance of the scheme. The CMC consist of 14 members, 7 each from the 2 target areas.