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Buulaburte district braces for bridge collapse as Shabelle River floods reach all-time high

Friday May 26, 2023

Beledweyne (HOL) - The Shabelle River has inundated the Buulaburte district in the Hiiraan region over the past several hours on Thursday.

Residents report that the floodwaters have impacted four neighbourhoods within the district, including Wadajir and Indhaceel. It's estimated that hundreds of families have been displaced from their homes.

Located at the heart of the Hiiraan region, the Buulaburte district is the second area to be flooded by the Shabelle River. Two weeks ago, the river displaced thousands of families from Beledweyne, the regional capital.

Sadam Abdi Idow, the mayor of Buulaburte, voiced his concerns about the alarming situation, noting that the water levels have reached unprecedented heights.

"We've never witnessed water levels this high in the Buulaburte district before. The floodwaters have impacted four neighbourhoods in the district. Today, the water overflowed the bridge and started to hit the walls. The situation is continuously worsening," the mayor said.

Last year, a massive explosion orchestrated by al-Shabab severely damaged the bridge in the Buulaburte district. Now, with the flooding, fears are mounting that the bridge might collapse due to the additional damage.

Even before the flooding, the Buulaburte district was already struggling with harsh living conditions due to the isolation and blockade enforced by Al-Shabab. The floodwaters from the Shabelle River have only intensified the challenges the local population faces.

Since the beginning of May, Beledweyne, the capital of Hiiraan, has been submerged by floodwaters, affecting over 200,000 residents. Around 79% of the town is now flooded, as per the Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) unit of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).


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