Aerial view of flooding in and around Jowhar town, on 12 November 2013, following a rare severe cyclonic storm in Somalia. Photo: African Union information services

GAROWE, Somalia, 16 November 2013 (Garowe Online) – The survivors of a severe cyclonic storm that rammed into Somalia's northeastern region of Puntland are desperate for food, medicines, and clean water but, with so much anxiety and chaos in the hardest-hit areas, the distribution is limited, Garowe Online reports.

Despite the efforts of Puntland government, few aid agencies on the ground and the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and Djibouti, food remains scarce for many of the neediest survivors in Nugal region where storm with life-threatening flooding washed thousands of livestock into the Indian Ocean, leaving 350,000 households more destitute according to local authorities.

Three days after the devastating cyclone, the survivors can recall terrible experiences on the deadly storm, with some of them telling harrowing tales of immense disaster while hundreds of nomads completely lost their livelihood during the flooding.

Wading through the submerged earth road linking Nugal regional district of Dangorayo to the coastal town of Eyl and former pirate hub, 155 km east of Garowe, Garowe Online was able to interview some victims.

"We were witnessing surging waters and icy winds. … I lost 435 goats and sheep, I wish to thank almighty Allah for giving me that farm animals yesterday and for making me poor today," Aidarus Jama Isse, 50, a father of six said Saturday.

"We need food, medicines and water. Be kind and help us at this time," he added.

In Qarhis village, at the heart of Nugal valley hundreds are suffering and waiting for help "I had survived on little water and dates since the storm … my neighbors were all killed by the storm and I need immediate assistance," Asha, a concerned resident of Qarhis told Garowe Online.

The survivors sheltered under makeshift evacuation centres are worrying about their future after the storm left them homeless and extremely anxious because they had been relying on their goats and sheep as a source of income. […]

Severe storms and heavy rains that started last week have caused widespread flooding across a wide swath of Puntland state which forms the tip of horn of Africa. [more]

Somalia: Puntland Storm Survivors Waiting for Help

Somalis rescue a camel after catastrophic floods hit the village of Sin Ujiif in Somalia's Puntland region on 13 November 2013. Photo: Stringer / AFP

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa and Abdi Moalim in Mogadishu
15 November 2013

(Sabahi Online) – Heavy rains trailing a cyclone, which battered Somalia's Puntland region and left as many as 300 people dead, have also flooded parts of the Somaliland region and done much damage to the port city of Berbera.

In Puntland as of Wednesday (November 13th), the human death toll from the cyclone was confirmed at 143, State Minister for Good Governance Mohamed Farah Isse told Sabahi. The local government said 300 were feared dead and hundreds of others missing.

As many as 100,000 animals -- mostly goats -- perished in the storm, Isse said.

"The rain is accompanied by an extreme cold, wind and a lot of water, which have killed the people and the animals," he said. "We cannot reach the affected areas because the vehicles are becoming stuck in the mud. We provided a small amount of aid to the district of Dangorayo, however, we cannot reach Eyl and Bandarbeyla."

The Puntland cabinet has appointed an inter-agency committee -- made up of the region's interior affairs, health and planning ministries, as well as its disaster response agency -- to manage the humanitarian response to the cyclone's fallout, Isse said.

District Commissioner of Garmal Gurey Salad Qayad said the cyclone had killed 25 people in his village alone, located 80 kilometres east of Dangorayo in Puntland's Nugaal region.

"The dead people include a mother and six of her children, while only the father and his niece survived in that family," Qayad told Sabahi, adding that the village had become an island surrounded by water on all sides.

People living in the areas of Puntland battered by the cyclone also expressed fear that many others could die from the threat of an outbreak of disease.

In Puntland's Karkaar region, there are many injured and sick people who urgently need medical care, said Ahmed Mohamud Hassan, head of medicine in Kulule village. The little food left in the village was running out, he said.

"Here in the village there are 1,000 people stranded whose animals have been killed and who do not have food," he told Sabahi.

Hassan said he was grateful to the federal government for its $1 million pledge for post-cyclone relief, but he called on officials to expedite the aid.

"If the aid is delayed, it will not do us any good," he said.

Somaliland's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Bihi Yonis and its Minister of Interior Affairs Ali Mohamed Waranadde said Tuesday (November 12th) that the region would also participate in the humanitarian relief efforts for the victims of the cyclone in Puntland.

The cyclone weakened by the time it reached the Somaliland region, but the heavy rains it produced "have caused damage through the extreme cold accompanying them and the extensive flooding that has resulted," said Mohamed Muse Awale, chairman of Somaliland's National Environment Research and Disaster Preparedness and Management Authority.

The rains in Hargeisa lasted for about 48 hours and were accompanied by heavy cloud cover and fog that prevented flights from landing at the local airport on Tuesday.

The rains, nonetheless, hit the port city of Berbera hard enough to damage buildings and displace 500 families, according to officials. At least ten people, who were injured in the rains and flooding, were taken to a local hospital.

In Togdheer region, two people died as a result of the rains, Waranadde said Wednesday in an interview with Voice of America's Somali language service.

"Thanks to God, there are no deaths [in Berbera], but there is extensive damage," Berbera Mayor Abdishakur Mahmoud Hassan said at news conference Wednesday alongside Sahil Governor Ali Mohamed Elmi.

"The city was flooded with a lot of water and about 50 of the old houses collapsed," Hassan said, adding that the displaced people had been given shelter at schools in the city.

"The greatest [need] is something for them to eat and somewhere to shelter," Elmi said. "We are calling on the government and aid agencies to extend emergency assistance to them."

Among the city's uprooted residents was Asha Jama, a mother of five.

"My children and I were without shelter for two nights. I am worried the cold will harm [the children]," said Jama, who was sheltering with her family at Bursade High School. [more]

Puntland, Somaliland region reel from post-cyclone rains, flooding



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