Somalia flooding in the Middle Shabelle region of the Horn of Africa state. A cyclone also hit the northern region of Puntland., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Somalia: Somalis struggle after devastating cyclone: Aid agencies
NOVEMBER 29, 2013
More than 100,000 people are struggling in Somalia’s cyclone-hit northeastern Puntland region, aid agencies warned Friday, saying floodwaters had wiped out the livestock two-thirds of the people survive on.
A joint statement by 12 agencies — including Somali organisations as well as international ones such as CARE International, Oxfam, Save the Children, Refugees International and World Vision — said that people are “in dire need of food, clean drinking water and shelter”.
“For the pastoralist communities, the loss of their livestock could lead to an even greater number of people dying,” said Degan Ali, from Somali agency Adeso. “Livestock is the basis of the local economy and their only means of survival.”
The local government in the semi-autonomous region has said that as many as 300 people were feared to have been killed in the aftermath of the storm, but United Nations estimates later said that 80 were so far confirmed dead.
Aid agencies, the United Nations and local authorities are supplying food and medical supplies, but the recovery of communities struggling after decades of unrest — and still recovering from extreme drought last year — will take considerable time, the agencies cautioned.
“Families have lost their homes and possessions as floods damaged entire villages, roads and fishing boats,” the statement read, also warning of the risk of waterborne diseases.
Infamous pirate hotspots such as the port of Eyl — from where Somali gunmen have launched attacks far out into the Indian Ocean — are some of the worst affected places.
Somalia has been riven by civil war since the collapse of the central government in 1991.
Impoverished Puntland, which forms the tip of the Horn of Africa, has its own government, but unlike neighbouring Somaliland, it has not declared independence from Somalia.
SOMALIA: Over 100,000 people devastated by the recent cyclone in Puntland
Posted on November 30, 2013
Over 100,000 people devastated by the recent cyclone in Somalia are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, aid agencies report. The tropical cyclone that hit the Puntland region of Somalia earlier this month resulted in the death of at least 80 people, mostly children and the elderly, and is estimated to have killed more than 100,000 livestock. Pastoralist communities appear the hardest hit.
Information from affected communities was initially limited due to the remoteness of the worst affected areas. Communication was halted from the lack of electricity to charge mobile phones, which was the only method of communication. Initial assessments indicate there is an urgent need to provide food, clean drinking water, shelter and medical supplies. Families have lost their homes and possessions as floods damaged entire villages, roads and fishing boats. Fears are also emerging of an outbreak of diarrhea and other waterborne diseases as many water sources were destroyed, while others are at risk of contamination from dead livestock.
Adeso’s Executive Director Degan Ali called this a silent crisis that needs to be addressed urgently. “For the pastoralist communities, the loss of their livestock could lead to an even greater number of people dying. Livestock is the basis of the local economy and their only means of survival. We, therefore, must respond quickly with more humanitarian aid but also recovery efforts to help restore livelihoods. ” she said.
NGOs in Somalia have been working with Puntland authorities and UN agencies through daily coordination meetings to determine how best to respond to save lives. To date, aid agencies have distributed food, water treatment tablets, shelter material and provided medical services. Puntland authorities have also created a bypass on the damaged Garowe/Dangoroyo road, facilitating the delivery of supplies to an estimated 30,000 people.
The storm has hit vulnerable communities who were still recovering from the 2011-2012 Horn of Africa famine and drought. With over 65percent of the population relying on pastoralism to earn a living, the huge livestock deaths could have long-term negative consequences. Beyond their immediate needs for food, water, medicine and shelter, families will need support to rebuild lost livelihoods including restocking of livestock. Displaced families will require new shelter or relocation in the long-term, and coastal communities will need assistance to replace lost fishing equipment.
“We appeal to the international community for more assistance to respond to this disaster. While agencies are responding to other much bigger crises that have greater media visibility around the world, we must remember the plight of the most vulnerable children and families in Somalia,” says World Vision Somalia Country Director, Francois Batalingaya.