More than 100 people have been killed in flash flooding after a tropical cylone hit Somalia.
Tropical Cyclone 3A swept in from the Arabian Sea on November 10. It brought winds of up to 74 kph, the equivalent of a weak tropical storm. But it was the rainfall which led to at least 100 people being killed and many more reported as missing.
The worst affected area seems to have been Puntland, in the northeast of the country. Here, flash flooding resulted from rainfall which had been forecast to be between 100 and 200mm. It is reported that houses, buildings, and people were swept away.
The average annual rainfall across the Puntland is between 100 and 200mm, so the equivalent of a year’s rainfall in less than 48 hours was inevitably too much for the region’s infrastructure to bear.
3A is the first cyclone to come ashore since Tropical Cyclone Murjan in October 2012. It is only the fifth such storm to strike the country since records began in the mid-1960s.
The government of the semi-autonomous region estimates that 100,000 livestock were lost and fishing boats swept away, endangering the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.
Eyl, Beyla, Dangorayo and Haun districts along the eastern coast and Alula at the tip of the Horn of Africa bore the brunt of the storm.
“I have buried 10 members of my family. The icy storm and rain killed more than 100 people here,” said one village elder from Eyl.
“I have never witnessed such fatal cold. Some people were blown away and others died after their houses collapsed on them. Some people, and the animals they were looking after, are still missing.” he said.
Puntland President, Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, said the “crisis was immense.” He continued, “We urge United Nations aid agencies to assist the victims.”