INTRODUCTION: International agencies continued pouring relief aid into Somalia following the heavy flooding there in recent weeks.
GV People wading through mud and water, and overturned vehicles on road in Belet Uen. (3 SHOTS)
GV Italian Air Force transport plane being unloaded at Mogadishu airport.
CU & SV Italian Red Cross donations off-loaded and stacked. (4 SHOTS)
SV Articles being sorted and stacked. (2 SHOTS)
LV Small transport aircraft arriving and being off loaded at Lugh Jellow. (3 SHOTS)
SV Refugees watch as supplies are stacked. (2 SHOTS)
SV & CU Maize distributed. (6 SHOTS)
LV & GV PAN Distribution continues as aircraft takes off. (2 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: International agencies continued pouring relief aid into Somalia following the heavy flooding there in recent weeks. A massive aid operation was mounted after an urgent appeal from the Somalia Government at the beginning of May when the extent of the flooding first became apparent.
SYNOPSIS: Some of the worst flooding occurred around the town of Belet Uen near the Ethiopian border. Its population of 40,000 was evacuated when Somalia's two main rivers burst their banks after torrential rain in the Ethiopian highlands. Refugee camps were devastated and agricultural land was swamped.
Relief agencies responded quickly following the government's appeal for help, and since early last month planeloads of supplies have been arriving in Mogadishu, the Somali capital. Italian Air Force freighters ferried in aid supplied by the European Economic Community (EEC) and the Italian Red Cross, while emergency airlifts were mounted by Britain and France part of the EEC effort. Saudi Arabia and the United States also joined in the relief operation.
The supplies most urgently needed for the flood victims were food, drugs fuel and tents. Inflatable rubber dinghies also had to be flown in to reach people cut off by the flood waters.
From the capital, the goods had to be transported to the flood zones. Many areas affected could be reached only by air, including the refugee camp at Lugh Jellow. The road into the camp had been cut off by the first floods at the end of April.
Inhabitants of the camp are typical of many of the flood victims, refugees from the Ogaden region, ownership which is disputed by Somalia and Ethiopia. There are thought to be up to 1.3 million displaced persons from the Ogaden in Somalia, living in numerous camps dotted around the country. Food shortages and sanitation problems caused by the flooding were particularly serious among the refugees and the death rate in the camps rose significantly.
But as the distribution of emergency aid continued, United Nations officials supervising the operation were warning that supplies received so far were far short of immediate requirements.