By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a tragedy that is hitting close to home for tens of thousands of Minnesotans. Catastrophic flooding is devastating the people of central Somalia, a half a million people and counting.

Somalia is 8,000 miles away – but the connection is deep. 69,000 people who are from Somalia now call Minnesota home.

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And the home they once knew is under attack from torrential floods.

Saiicido Shaie was born in Somalia, and raised in Minnesota where she runs a non-profit.

“There’s water everywhere. Their houses are filled with water, a lot of people died, a lot of people are suffering,” said Shaie.

Just two years ago, she and two friends went back to Somalia to help with drought relief.

“Now we have the opposite of that. Now people are struggling cause there’s a flood,” said Shaie.

Saiicido and her friend Simon are rallying Minnesotans to help.

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“It’s a moment to provide relief to friends and neighbors, but it’s also an opportunity to build bridges in relationships and when help people in the horn of Africa, we’re helping neighbor,” said Simon Trautmann.

One Minnesotan who has gone all in is Habiib Farah, a father from South Minneapolis. He’s mobilizing relief efforts on the front lines.

Video captures his hands on mission work. Saiicido spoke with him Thursday.

“I was asking him what’s happened and he was like I don’t even know how to desribe. He was traumatized, he was sad, he sent me some pictures of him crying there,” said Shaie.

And the images are nothing short of heartbreaking – a crisis Saiicido hopes all Minnesotans will take personally.

“I’ve been calling everybody I know to send whatever, $5 would help, $2 would help,” said Shaie.

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If you’d like to help with the flood relief efforts you can click here, or you can donate to UNICEF.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield