Lives and livelihoods at stake following cyclone and floods in Somalia

تم النشر: 18 نوفمبر 2013 15:31 CET

By Susan Onyango, IFRC

Thousands of people in northeast Puntland, Somalia are coming to grips with the effects of the cyclone that hit the area between the 8-10 November. The storm has left several areas inaccessible and cut off from communication, making it difficult to determine the real scale of the damage. The most recent death toll stands at more than 100 and it is estimated that over 100,000 livestock have been lost, threatening the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.

The Somali Red Crescent Society mobilized its volunteers to evacuate people to safer ground and to provide first aid services. Volunteers are also collecting and burying dead livestock in an effort to stave off the breakout of disease. As water levels began receding and roads became passable, the Somali Red Crescent Society dispatched two mobile health clinics and an additional vehicle to support rescue operations.  

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is also stepping in to assist with emergency response efforts.

“IFRC has deployed a team to assist the Somali Red Crescent to carry out assessments and initial response in the northeast area of Puntland,” said Kwame Darko, health delegate for IFRC’s Somalia delegation. “We also sent in non-food items such as kitchen sets, tarpaulins, blankets, sleeping mats, jerry cans and soap, initially for 100 families. We will increase this based on the assessment results.”

With fears of an outbreak of waterborne diseases, the IFRC will  also deploy a water and sanitation specialist from the Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT), as well as a health specialist from the Somali Red Crescent to take part in the assessment mission. The full RDRT remains on stand-by to be deployed to Puntland and Somaliland if needed.

This week’s efforts will be concentrated in carrying out assessments in the eight most affected districts in the Nugal and Bari regions. Relief items will then be distributed based on the needs of affected families.

This cyclone is just one of the many silent disasters occurring around the world, most of which usually go unreported in international media and are often out of the public eye, failing to attract sufficient funding and resources to provide essential humanitarian aid. However, for those affected, the consequences are catastrophic with lives and livelihoods lost. An average of 91 per cent of Red Cross and Red Crescent disaster responses involve small or medium-sized disasters or health emergencies throughout the world.