INTRODUCTION: In Somalia, supplies are now filtering through to the hundreds of thousands of people facing starvation as a result of massive flooding.
SV EXT Truck being loaded with supplies. (5 SHOTS)
SV Truck pulling out.
GV Truck backing in to plane.
GVs Supplies being loaded onto plane from truck. (2 SHOTS)
SV Plane at Belet Uen airport.
SV Supplies being unloaded from plane with people watching. (4 SHOTS)
GV Flooded village. (5 SHOTS)
GV Refugee camp with huts being constructed. (4 SHOTS)
SV Man making covers. (2 SHOTS)
GV Cover being put on hut.
GV Supplies being stored in hut. (2 SHOTS)
GV Refugee camp.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In Somalia, supplies are now filtering through to the hundreds of thousands of people facing starvation as a result of massive flooding. Food, blankets, plastic sheeting and medical supplies are being flown in to the worst hit areas in a massive rescue operation.
SYNOPSIS: The European Economic Community was one of the first to respond to Somalia's pleas for aid. Around 100,000 people are believed to be homeless and many are stranded, cut off from supply routes by the floodwater. The floods which have followed three years of drought have washed away roads and bridges and wiped out over 150 villages. Emergency supplies arriving in Mogadishu have to be flown out to isolated areas.
Speed is of the essence. Many Somalis lost all the food supplies they had when their villages were flooded out and are living in makeshift shelters. United Nations officials fear that epidemics may also soon take their toll.
The worst flooding occurred in Hiran province near Belet Uen which is at present only accessible by plane. The provincial capital of 40,000 people, as well as half a dozen refugee camps, were swamped when the river Shebelle broke its banks. Belet Uen had been used as a centre for refugees from the Ogaden in Ethiopia. Somalia has a population of over five million and over a quarter of them are refugees. Some 1.3 million of them come from Ethiopia. The Cochaney camp outside Belet Uen which was the first camp to be inundated alone housed 10,000 refugees.
Officials worked frantically to remove relief food from storage depots, but were hampered by townspeople using sacks of food as sandbags in a vain attempt to stem the floodwater.
The local inhabitants are camping out in surrounding high ground, using anything they can lay their hands on to provide a makeshift shelter. The risk of disease is high. At dusk mosquitoes come out in droves and many children have come down with high fevers. The polluted river water also brings the risk of typhoid and cholera. Plastic sheeting is used to provide cover. Tents, blankets, food fuel and drugs are urgently required. Although relief supplies are getting through, they are nowhere near enough to cope with the scale of the problem.
The greatest problem is getting supplies to isolated pockets of refugees and the Somali Foreign Ministry has requested the international community to provide helicopters, light aircraft and rubber dinghies to help improve communications.