Op-Ed: Addressing Bardheere’s El Niño Floods: HIRDA Somalia’s Response Efforts

Belet Weyne in Hirshabelle State bore the brunt of the floods in early May 2023 when the Shabelle River broke its banks, leaving a trail of destruction and devastation. Two-thirds of the city was submerged, causing extensive damage to vital infrastructure.
Belet Weyne in Hirshabelle State bore the brunt of the floods in early May 2023 when the Shabelle River broke its banks, leaving a trail of destruction and devastation. Two-thirds of the city was submerged, causing extensive damage to vital infrastructure.

By:Amanrer Isak Mohamed


In October 2023, the district of Bardheere in the Gedo region of Somalia experienced severe flooding caused by heavy rains and rising water levels. As the community grappled with the devastating effects of the food, HIRDA Somalia, in collaboration with UNICEF Somalia, swiftly mobilized to provide essential support and assistance to those afected. This article explores the impact of the foods on the community and highlights HIRDA’s intervention efforts in addressing the challenges faced by the residents. Impact on Humans and Agriculture:

The floods wreaked havoc on Bardheere, resulting in extensive property damage and significant losses in the agricultural sector. Homes were submerged, crops were destroyed, and families faced the daunting task of rebuilding their lives. The economic impact was profound, affecting both individuals and the community as a whole. Water Contamination and Health Risks:

One of the critical concerns arising from the foods was the contamination of water sources. The floodwaters carried sewage and pollutants from damaged sanitation facilities, posing a significant health risk to the affected population. With limited access to clean water, some residents resorted to consuming contaminated water, leading to an increased incidence of waterborne diseases like diarrhea.

Infrastructure Challenges and Displacement:

The food severely damaged the infrastructure in Bardheere. Vital roadways were rendered impassable, cutting off access to essential services and hindering relief efforts. Inhabitants of food-prone areas had no choice but to abandon their homes, resulting in widespread displacement. Displaced individuals faced numerous challenges, including inadequate shelter, health risks, hygiene issues, and increased vulnerability to malnutrition.

HIRDA’s Intervention:

Recognizing the urgent need for assistance, HIRDA Somalia partnered with UNICEF Somalia to launch comprehensive relief programs in Bardheere. These programs focused on crucial areas such as nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH), education, and healthcare services.

In response to the nutrition crisis, HIRDA implemented screening initiatives and conducted Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) sessions, ensuring that children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) received the necessary support. Distributions of essential supplies, such as food and hygiene kits, were carried out to alleviate immediate needs.

To address healthcare challenges, HIRDA established Outpatient Department (OPD) services, Antenatal/Postnatal Care (ANC/PMC) facilities, and expanded the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI). Community health workers were mobilized to guide

benefciaries to these sites and raise awareness about the risks associated with El Niño.

Innovatively, HIRDA utilized boats to overcome the obstacles posed by damaged roads and reach previously inaccessible areas. This approach allowed for the delivery of aid, medical services, and other critical supplies to communities cut of by the foods.

Impact and Lack of Governance:

The consequences of the foods are dire, and the absence of efective governance exacerbates the situation. There are two major issues that need immediate attention from responsible authorities. Firstly, the scale of the damage caused by the foods is immense, and the afected individuals are in urgent need of assistance. The destruction of homes and infrastructure has left people homeless and without access to basic necessities. The lack of a coordinated response from responsible authorities has further complicated the situation.

Secondly, the foods have significantly disrupted transportation networks. Roads and bridges have been washed away, making it difficult for aid and relief efforts to reach the affected areas. This lack of access hampers the delivery of essential supplies and services to those in need.

Gedo Takes the Brunt:

Gedo region has been hit the hardest by the food, with Galkacyo and Baidoa experiencing extensive damage from the relentless downpour over the past two days.

Immediate Relief Efforts:

Given the urgency of the situation, it is imperative that immediate relief eforts be mobilized to address the needs of the affected population. The following interventions should be prioritized:

  1. Emergency Shelter: Adequate shelter needs to be provided to those who have been displaced by the food. Temporary shelters, tents, and other emergency housing solutions should be made available to ensure the safety and well-being of the affected individuals.
  • Food and Water Assistance: Access to clean water and sufficient food supplies is critical during such crises. Efforts should be made to provide safe drinking water through water trucking and the distribution of water purification tablets. Additionally, food aid should be organized to prevent malnutrition and hunger among the affected population.
  • Healthcare and Sanitation: Medical teams should be deployed to provide essential healthcare services to the affected communities. Immediate medical needs, including treatment for injuries and the prevention and control of waterborne diseases, should be addressed. Furthermore, sanitation facilities should be restored or set up to prevent the outbreak of diseases and ensure proper hygiene practices.
  • Infrastructure Rehabilitation: Efforts should be made to restore damaged infrastructure, including roads and bridges, to facilitate the movement of aid and enable access to the affected areas. This is crucial for the effective delivery of relief supplies and the restoration of normalcy in the region.

  • Coordination and Support: It is essential for local authorities, humanitarian organizations, and relevant stakeholders to collaborate and coordinate their efforts. Effective communication channels should be established to ensure efficient resource allocation and the timely provision of assistance.


The El Niño-induced foods in Bardheere had a profound impact on the community, damaging homes, crippling agriculture, and exposing residents to numerous challenges. However, through its partnership with UNICEF Somalia, HIRDA Somalia swiftly responded to the crisis, providing vital support in nutrition, healthcare, and education. By mobilizing resources, implementing innovative strategies, and engaging local communities, HIRDA played a crucial role in alleviating the sufering of food-afected individuals and helping them on the path to recovery.


Amanrer Isak Mohamed has a double masters in different programs.
master of International relations and Diplomacy and Master of Public Administration, university lecturer for 10 years. 


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the Horndiplomat editorial policy.
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