16 November 2013

Somalia: Puntland Storm Survivors Waiting for Help

Garowe — 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.

Survivors recount harrowing tales, await assistance

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.

President Farole touring flood-affected areas

The President of Somalia's Puntland Government Abdirahman Mohamed Farole Saturday went out on trip to the hardest-hit areas in Nugal region to assess damage from the recent cyclone and survey relief effort.

Puntland Government officials, international community representatives, civil society organizations, Disaster Management and Rescue Committee members and Puntland Marine Police Forces trucks loaded with an emergency supplies, consisting of food, clean water, medicines and tents are accompanying President Farole.

The President and his delegation toured Dangorayo, the nomadic families residing along the main earth road and Qarhis on his way to Eyl.

Relief efforts continue

Puntland Marine forces offload food aid from plane at Garowe International Airport [Photo: Garowe Online]

On Saturday, two Ethiopian military aircrafts carrying humanitarian assistance to the survivors of the flash floods have landed at Garowe International Airport as many sides are trying to respond to Puntland government's plea for help.

The head of Ethiopia's consulate general office in Puntland, Asmalesh Walda-Mirad said "Ethiopia is ready to continue the humanitarian assistance," noting that his government is providing technical assistance to the government in an effort to repair a fallen bridge which has been posing logistical challenges to the relief efforts.

On the other hand, local humanitarian organizations are coordinating relief and rescue operations with Islamic scholars who organized themselves in the port city of Bossaso.

First aid flights from Djibouti and Ethiopia arrived in Puntland capital of Garowe on Friday.

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.

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