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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Floods Cause New Refugee Crisis in Somalia

BARDERA, Somalia -- In makeshift camps outside this rural southern town, Somalis, young and old, were crying out Tuesday for international help.


Unlike 1991, when they were hit by factional fighting that left thousands killed, this time around they are victims of floods caused by torrential rains.


In Bardera alone, some 40,000 people have been rendered homeless, their houses swept away by floods from the Shabelle and Juba rivers. The United Nations says as many as 800,000 people lived in the affected areas in southern Somalia and an estimated 200,000 had been directly hit by the floods.


The Somalia flood disaster is part of a phenomenon affecting a wide area of eastern Africa resulting from the El Ni–o climatic warming.


Climatologists have warned that more rains can be expected, and there is no sign yet of a let-up. Their warning has raised fears of a repetition of the disaster that hit the same area of Somalia in 1991, when the rivers ran together, inundating thousands of square kilometers of land.


The first help arrived here from Kenya. The UN Children's Fund flew in five tons of high protein biscuits Tuesday.


Salat Hussein, the only medical doctor in Bardera, warned that Bardera could soon be hit by an outbreak of cholera and malaria unless help reached the flood victims soon.