Cyclone Sagar, which made landfall along the coastal areas of Somaliland and Puntland on 19 May, left in its path a trail of destruction, with thousands of people still counting their losses. The tropical cyclone was one of the strongest storms to ever hit Somalia, leaving a volume of rainfall which usually isn’t reached within one year, according to the FAO-Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM). The subsequent floods and strong winds exacted a heavy toll on infrastructure and farmland, leaving many people dead and thousands of others displaced. Basic infrastructure, including water sources and communication equipment, collapsed in many areas. The majority of affected people were still recovering from the impact of the effects of the prolonged and severe drought.
Humanitarian impact and needs
Somaliland’s disaster management authority, NAFDOR, estimates that the cyclone affected nearly 168,000 people in the five worst-hit districts: Baki, Lughaya and Zaylac in the Awdal region, and Berbera in Woqooyi Galbeed. Some 2,590 people were displaced in Awdal region, according to the UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network (PRMN). Some 50 people died and substantial numbers of livestock were lost, particularly in Baki and Lughaya. Key infrastructure, including roads, fishing boats, medical facilities, boreholes and water wells, was damaged. Community shelters were also damaged. Some 39 schools and an unspecified number of health facilities were damaged/destroyed. Many rural roads in the affected areas remain inaccessible. Uncollected livestock carcasses that were washed into water sources are raising concerns regarding possible outbreaks of disease.
In Puntland, the Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Agency (HADMA) estimates that flooding and heavy rains affected some 60,800 people along coastal areas. Three people died in Bari as a result. The worst-affected areas in Bari region include the coastal towns of Bareeda, Caluula, Gumbax, Murcanyo, Xaabo and some parts of Qandala. Access to most of the affected areas remains a challenge. In the districts of Caluula and Iskushuban, some 51 houses, and more than 40 irrigation pumps, were destroyed. Fifteen fishing boats were partially or completely damaged, an unknown amount of fishing gear was swept away by strong winds, and farmland was destroyed. In Bossaso, nearly 220 makeshift shelters and 20 boats, belonging to the internally displaced people in Tawakal, were washed away. Some 30 boats were also destroyed.
In Sanaag’s Lasqoray town, some 212 people were displaced, according to the PRMN. Houses in Ceel Buh and Habarshiro were destroyed and an unknown number of people temporarily displaced. Ten small fishing boats were damaged. The access road from Lasqoray to Geel Doora was submerged.
In Sool’s Laas Caanood, an estimated 5,300 people were affected and 4,800 others displaced. The risk of an outbreak of water-borne disease such as acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) and cholera, and vector-borne disease, including malaria, remains high in the affected areas.
Humanitarian coordination and response
The Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mr. Peter de Clercq is releasing up to $3.5 million for response to the impact of the Cyclone in Somaliland. The SHF funds will be used for emergency rehabilitation of prioritised communal infrastructure (schools, water points, hospitals, nutrition centres); for support to integrated emergency response teams; and integrated response activities focusing on shelter and livelihoods support. Aid agencies and local authorities have scaled up the provision of urgently needed lifesaving assistance, including WASH, health, nutrition, shelter and infrastructure support. Assistance also includes Non-Food Items (NFIs), mosquito nets, sanitation and hygiene kits; the restoration of damaged schools, health facilities and water wells; and livelihood support.
In Somaliland, the government, along with aid agencies, have, so far, reached some 105,000 people with food assistance. Some 74,000 people have received NFIs including shelter, health services, WASH and protection assistance. The governments of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Djibouti have also provided assistance, including through the provision of air assets for the delivery of aid. Aid agencies and local authorities have established response hubs in the towns of Baki, Gargara Bari and Zaila to facilitate response. The Somaliland authorities have dispatched four tractors and two dump trucks to clear the blocked rural roads in Awdal. Rapid assessments have been conducted by humanitarians to identify immediate needs. WFP-managed UNHAS provided an aircraft to support the inter-agency assessment as many of the roads are extremely rough, and some are still inaccessible. More technical, in-depth, sectoral assessments have also been jointly conducted by line ministries and partner organizations. Humanitarians are planning an in-depth assessment of the livelihood impact of the cyclone.
In Puntland, humanitarians are working with the authorities to provide health and nutrition supplies to the affected areas. Plans to kick-start the registration of 2,000 beneficiaries for food assistance, through local implementing partners, are underway. Humanitarian partners are also planning assistance to 150 households in the town of Caluula through cash transfers and NFI provisions. Assessments in some areas are not feasible due to security concerns which limit humanitarian access.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.