UNSOS, ATMIS officials assess impact of floods on Forward Operating Bases

6 Dec 2023

UNSOS, ATMIS officials assess impact of floods on Forward Operating Bases

Dhobley – Senior officials from the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) visited Dhobley in Lower Jubaland region, to assess the impact of flooding on troops on the front lines. 

The recent El Nino induced floods in Somalia have affected offensive operations by ATMIS and Somali security forces against the terrorist Al-Shabaab group. The floods have also inundated about 20 ATMIS Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and surrounding communities, impacting service delivery. 

UNSOS Deputy Chief of Service Delivery, Michael Dorn, and the ATMIS Deputy Force Commander in charge of Support and Logistics, Maj Gen Peter Muteti, were in Dhobley, as part of an ongoing visit to the various ATMIS sectors, to assess the situation and understand the priorities on the ground.

In an interview, Dorn explained that severe flooding has made main supply routes impassable, curtailing ground support delivery to ATMIS troops located in the Forward Operating Bases. 

Dorn noted, “Some of the FOBs are in a lake. It is a huge challenge for ATMIS troops. So, our job is to improve their living conditions as well as their security.” 

“It was challenging to move supplies, equipment and resources into and out of the FOBs due to supply lines being  disrupted by floodwaters. Floods have harmed the FOB’s vital infrastructure, including roads, bridges, which has affected daily life  and operational capabilities” said ATMIS Sector Two Deputy Commander, Col.Adan Safe.

Dorn added that with the flooding of airfields that are critical to the landing and take-off of UN aircrafts delivering logistical supplies to ATMIS troops, UNSOS has shifted from the use of fixed-wing aircrafts to rotor-wing aircrafts. 

“The FOBs that are most affected are in Sector Four and Sector Three and to some extent in Sector Five. That is Baidoa, Beletweyne, and Jowhar. There are of course other areas of the country like Kismayo to some extent and Dhobley where roads and airstrips are flooded. And that is a huge challenge as we cannot use the main supply road to sustain the troops,” said Dorn. 

Col. Safe said, the flooding has raised concern over the general hygiene and health of troops and surrounding communities.

“Owing to pollution and a higher likelihood of waterborne infections, standing water can be dangerous to one’s health, “noted Col. Safe who briefed the UNSOS-ATMIS delegation on an overview of the situation in FOBs and neighbouring areas. 

During the visit, the ATMIS Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) officers also briefed the delegation on the impact of floods on the delivery of critical services and operational logistics to the troops.

To alleviate the situation, UNSOS is providing vital flood mitigation aids such as sandbags, Hesco bastions, medical kits and other necessities including water pumps and hosepipes to drain the affected FOBs and mitigate the effects of the floods on the operations of troops. 

“We work very closely with them to address their needs, requirements and priorities jointly. And that means providing all the classes of logistical support and services we have. And that has resulted in enhanced living conditions and security for the troops. Both when it comes to SSF and ATMIS so they can deliver on the mandates,” noted Dorn.




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