A statement from the Puntland government said that the death toll from the recent storm there could be as much as three times higher than the original estimate of 100.
The government statement said: “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.”
Local media have reported around 140 dead and 150 missing and 250,000 households have been affected.
Although the local media and Puntland government figures have yet to be verified by outside agencies, it is clear that this highly unusual event has cause havoc to an area unused to seeing flood waters. There are also many fishermen lost, feared dead. Floods and storms have caused damage to boats, farmland and homes, destroying livelihoods.
Flood and storm damage to the road network is hampering relief efforts. The government said, “The loaded and ready trucks cannot deliver supplies by road, as the heavy rains and flooding have rendered dirt roads to the coastal areas impassible.”
Map of Areas Affected by Floods
The impact of the flooding has been particularly severe since the region is mostly semi-arid and rarely sees rainfall and floods to this extent. The average yearly rainfall in the area is between 100mm and 200mm. Roughly the same amount was dumped in some areas of Puntland over a period of 2 to 3 days after the storm had hit.
Accumulated rainfall in some the worst hit areas over a 72 hour period (11th to 13th November 2013):
- Berbera, W. Galbeed region – 195mm
- Eyl, Nugaal Region – 149mm
- Sheikh, Togdheer Region – 130mm
- Dangoroyo, Bari region – 100mm
Rainfall Forecasts 13th to 19th November 2013
Although there was a cyclone in Somalia in October last year ( Tropical Cyclone Murjan), they are still a rare occurrence in the region. Between 1966 (when records began) and 2011, there were only 3 cyclones recorded.
Source and maps: Fao Swalim