Friday, November 15, 2013

DISASTER IMPACT: Somali Region Appeals For Aid After Cyclone - UN Says As Many As 30,000 Need Help; Over 300 Dead; "Countless" Die-Off Of Animals; Entire Villages Destroyed; Roads And Homes Washed Away!

November 15, 2013 - SOMALIA - Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland has declared a state of emergency and is appealing for international aid after floods triggered by a cyclone killed at least 300 people and left hundreds missing.

The UN said some 30,000 people were in need of food, water, shelter and medical supplies, according to government estimates. Puntland's government has described the situation as a "disaster".

A cyclone that hit Somalia's north-eastern Puntland region at the weekend is known to have killed over
300 people and has caused extensive flooding. Many areas have been cut off. News and pictures
of the devastation are slowly emerging.

Thousands of livestock also died, and hundreds of homes were destroyed by the cyclone, known as 03A.
This man lost the majority of his flock, with 400 out of his 431 goats dying.

Camels too were affected by the surging waters. This camel was stuck in the mud and was
successfully rescued by young men using ropes.

Puntland forms the tip of the Horn of Africa and has its own government, but unlike neighbouring Somaliland, it has not declared independence from Somalia, which has been unstable since 1991 when President Siad Barre was overthrown. 

Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow, reporting from Puntland, said the situation was "grim" and that entire villages had been washed away by "raging floods".

He said the death toll was likely to rise as most of the affected villages were still cut off by the water.

"Aid is not reaching affected villages because of the damage done to infrastructure. [There are] long queues of stranded vehicles" on both sides of the road between the capital Garowe and the key port city of Bossaso.

'Livestock lost'

Our correspondent said large stretches of the road had been damaged and that officials had been sent on foot to try to reach affected areas.

"Torrential rains, high wind speeds and flooding has created a state of emergency, with 300 persons feared dead, hundreds others unaccounted for, and countless livestock lost," the government said in a statement.

The death toll could not be independently verified, but weather experts from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) confirmed flooding was severe.

A major bridge on the highway between the inland town of Garowe and coastal Bossasso was washed away.

It took several days for aid to reach one of the worst-affected areas, Karhis - between the districts of
Dangoroyo and Eyl - which rarely receives rain.

Puntland marines distributed dates, nutritious biscuits and sugar to those left destitute by the floods. This
family lost most of their possessions in the raging waters that swept away their compound of huts.

This woman, who thanked the marines for the food they gave her, said she had been separated from her family.
She also lost 90 goats in the floods.

Journalist Ahmed Awil Jama said about half a kilometre from where the marines were distributing food,
it was too dangerous to travel because of the fast-moving water. The authorities have appealed to
international aid agencies to help with air-drops of relief supplies, including clean water,
non-perishable food, tents, blankets and medicines.

"Given that Puntland is a semi-arid region, it rarely rains but when it does, to an extent we have seen... the impact is devastating," Hussein Gadain, a senior FAO technical adviser, said

Infamous pirate hotspots such as the port of Eyl - from where Somali men have launched attacks far out into the Indian Ocean - are some of the worst affected.

WATCH: Somali region appeals for aid after cyclone.

"Many fishermen are missing and feared dead, the storm has destroyed entire villages, homes, buildings, and boats," the statement added.

The World Food Programme said it was "working closely" with local authorities "to assess the needs in Puntland in the aftermath of the cyclone". - Al Jazeera.


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