Hirshabelle accuses FGS of blocking donor funds for floods in Somalia

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The Hirshabelle state, which has close links to Villa Somalia, has now accused operatives in Mogadishu of allegedly blocking donor funds meant for flood mitigation in Central Somalia, amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region.

A cabinet committee on floods on Wednesday accused the Ministry of Finance and that of Planning of holding millions of dollars which were reportedly donated by several international stakeholders, intended to prevent floods in the Shebelle Valley.

In the letter, the committee directly blamed both Finance Minister Dr. Abdirahman Beileh and the Planning Minister of Gamal Mohamed Hassan, adding that they are responsible for the current quagmire, which has seen many dead and others displaced.

Efforts by Garowe Online to get a response from Ambassador Gamal Hassan were futile since he could neither pick calls nor respond to text messages. This is not the first time Hirshabelle is raising grave allegations about holding donor funds.

Last week, Mohamed Abdi Waare, a former Hirshabelle president, accused the government of failing to release $35 million, adding that they were meant to mitigate floods along the Shebelle Valley, which is now the worst affected according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA].

Although he didn’t provide evidence, Waare, a former ally of Villa Somalia, said the money was donated by the governments of Italy, Sweden, the European Union, and the World Bank sometimes back, adding that it’s yet to be released.

The money, he added, is held at the ministries of Finance, Planning, and Agriculture. He, however, did not specify when the money was disbursed and why it has taken long to have the money disbursed.

“It unfortunate that more than USD 35 million donated for the floods by Italy in Somalia, Sweden in Somalia EU_in_Somalia and World Bank for the Shabelle Valley alone is blocked at Federal Ministries of Finance, Planning, and Agriculture. Shame,” he said in a tweet.

The Garowe Online could not establish the claims at that time but Waare, is one of the leaders who closely worked with Villa Somalia. He left his office early this year and was replaced by Ali Guudlaawe, a close associate of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

This comes amid raging floods in the country At least 25 people have been killed in the past seven days due to heavy rains pounding several parts of Somalia, the United Nations humanitarian agency said in a statement on Sunday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said among the dead include 14 children and seven internally displaced people.

OCHA said riverine flooding has affected an estimated 25,000 people in 15 villages in Jowhar in the Middle Shabelle region, displacing people in eight villages and inundating farms.

The heavy rains have hit various parts of Somalia over the past week, triggering flash floods that have killed and displaced people, but a forecast suggests the rains will begin to subside from mid-May.

The Somalia Water and Land Information Management [SWALIM] managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on Saturday warned of an imminent danger of potentially unprecedented flooding expected along the Shabelle River in the coming days and the concern for the safety and wellbeing of the people in Beledweyne and along the river.

OCHA said Juba River reportedly has broken its bank in Doolow, reaching 4.70 meters, which is 0.20 meters above the moderate flooding level, and flooding three villages. It said the heavy rains on April 30 flooded the dry river valley in Hargeisa in Somaliland, affecting around 40 houses and washing away seven vehicles.

The floods also temporarily affected some of the internally displaced people who are living in sub-standard shelters.

In addition, the UN agency said, flash floods washed away over 1,250 heads of livestock and damaged shelters in low-lying areas of El-Daahir under Bossaso district and Berri Cad under Garowe between April 27 and May 5.