NAIROBI, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Flash floods from heavy rains in southern Somalia have killed seven children, displaced 50,000 others and inundated 6,400 hectares of farmland in parts of the Horn of Africa nation, the UN said on Thursday.
UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Somalia Public information officer Roberta Russo said the flooding, which began during the main rainy season, has affected Baidoa, Jowhar, Miido and Lower Shebelle areas of southern Somalia.
"So far we have seven children who have been killed and about 50,000 people have been displaced because of the main rainy season started in March," Russo told Xinhua by telephone in Nairobi.
The UN humanitarian agency said thousands of Somalis have been rendered homeless after flash floods triggered by days of heavy rainfall pounding parts of Middle Shebelle areas of southern Somalia.
Russo said the locals have not heeded warnings for them to move to higher grounds because of protecting their assets.
"They (locals) have preferred to remain behind to protect their assets instead of being evacuated from the areas affected by the flooding or where water levels are high," she said.
According to OCHA, parts of the country particularly the south were affected by flooding following heavy rains across Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands.
"The Juba and Shabelle river basins continued to receive moderate to heavy rains during the month. These floods have led to loss of property, damage to infrastructure and displacement of people," Russo said.
Russo also said the flooding has been exacerbated by the locals who cut into river embankments to irrigate their land.
She said humanitarian partners are supporting flood-affected communities with several activities, including pumping water from flooded areas, provision of non food items, water purification and rebuilding river banks to allow people to go back to their homes.
"The good news is that we managed to intervene in most of the areas which have been affected by the flooding. We are providing clean water to avoid an outbreak of cholera," Russo said.