Tuesday November 19, 2019
ROME (HOL) - The government of Italy has withheld €6 million meant for rehabilitation of Shabelle river to end perennial flooding in Beletweyne after Somalia failed to apply for the grants.A report by the Italian newspaper la Republica notes that the funds were earmarked for reconstruction of the banks along Shabelle river to curb flooding which displaces thousands every year.
Over 200,000 people were displaced in Beletweyne from late October into November with 85% of the town submerged in water when Shabelle river breached its banks.
Humanitarian efforts are still ongoing and families are yet to return to their homes. A couple of millions of dollars have so far been spent in the relief efforts which almost total the pledged funds by Italy for permanent solutions.
The funding proposal was to be developed jointly by FAO and government of HirShabelle state which would then be submitted by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture but the la Republica report notes the Ministry did not submit the proposal to the Italian government.
The report says authorities in Rome have since deferred spending of the funds to 2020 which is upon the Somali government to make a formal request.