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Somalia ravaged by floods, disease

 By Justin Colledge-Wiggins, Staff Reporter

Abu Dhabi -
Floods which have devastated large parts of Somalia are now giving rise to fatal diseases, ravaging already homeless villagers, said the head of a Somalian environmental group based here. Adam Hagi Salah, Somali projects manager for the Somalian Environmental Protection and Anti-Desertification Organisation (SEPADO), has just come back from the flood-ravaged country.

"The rains and the accompanying floods are the worst we have seen in the region since 1960, causing the deaths of over 1,000 people and wiping out tens of thousands of livestock farms and villages. When you fly over the region, all you can see are the tips of the roofs," Salah said.

This grim picture was compounded by the fact that rescue services could not reach the worst affected areas. "Due to the absence of government, only a few places have been visited and the rest of the country is beyond reach and cannot be accessed. So the exact level of damage cannot be accurately gauged," Salah added.

SEPADO is working with the Famine Early Warning System, which provides the latest data on meteorological conditions, especially on the El Nino weather phenomenon which is believed to have contributed to the severe floods.