Family life has been devastated by flash flooding

Faisal, 45, has lived in Dila in Awdal all his life.

Until last week he provided for his wife, Ruun, and their 11 children by running a small tea shop in the village.

“It started to rain around 4pm,” he says, “while I was in the shop with my wife, my seven-year-old son, Amin, and my two nieces.

“Within just an hour we were hit by a huge flood.

“I’ve never seen so much water in my life – even on TV.

“The water entered the shop and began circling around. Just a few minutes later all five of us were washed out of the building. It happened very quickly.

“I’m 5’8” and the water was well over seven feet high.

“I knew at that moment I was dead.”

But as he was swept away by the torrent, Faisal grabbed on to a tree top. As he clung there, the iron roof was ripped from the shop, cutting his leg.

“I knew by the time the flood swept me over that tree that my wife and my boy were already under the water.”

Their bodies, and the bodies of Faisal’s two nieces, were found at the foot of the mountains 19km away.

Faisal was rescued and later regained consciousness in hospital.

“When I woke up I remember thinking about my wife and my son,” he says, “and that my remaining children have lost their mother.”

Faisal can’t walk without crutches and the tea shop, his only source of income, was disintegrated piece-by-piece in the flood.

Now, just an empty concrete floor remains.

Surrounded by his children and sitting beside a small heap of rice and flour donated by his neighbours, Faisal recalls: “Before the drought business was good enough to feed all the family but at the start of the drought we lost a lot of business and things became hard.

“Now, I don’t know what I am going to do for sustenance. A poor man has no chance.”

The flood was caused when three poorly-constructed dams (built to capture precious rainwater) collapsed under the weight of torrential rain.

Please help drought-affected people like Faisal by supporting our East African Climate Crisis appeal. 

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