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Tropical cyclone leaves a trail of devastation in its wake in Somalia

Source: CARE International Secretariat - Wed, 4 Dec 2013 12:09 PM
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Lifestock, main source of livelihood, lost. Photo: CARE
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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

by CARE Somalia Emergency Staff

My visit to the hard-hit tropical cyclone areas in Dangorayo and Eyl districts of Nugaal region was shocking. The harrowing scene that I have encountered will remain engrained in my mind - the death and destruction of livestock, houses, roads, fishing boats, the water polluted and most significantly the loss of human lives.

The impact of the disaster was massive and had severe negative implication on the social, economic and psychological well-being of the survivors. Villages were littered with carcasses, and engulfed by the stench of dead animals. Livestock, the main source of livelihood, was severely affected, assets were depleted and villages were submerged, leaving behind stranded pastoralists.
In Qarxis areas, Eyl district, I talked to Faduma Ahmed Mohamed, 25, a mother of six children, two boys and four girls; she was still very emotional as she remembered vividly how they lost almost 450 goats.

“We tried very hard to save our livestock but my husband and I couldn’t save them. The heavy rains with strong winds started so fast. As the heavy wind howled both inside and outside the house, I could barely hear the terrified goats in their backyard. I held my two youngest babies close to my chest as the other four children held on to my husband’s hands and legs screaming”.

“Then within seconds, water began flowing into the house and our house began to fall apart. Before the water reached above our heads, we ran out; it was still raining heavily, and wreckage and carcasses of dead animals were everywhere. I can’t recall everything and I know how I’m feeling now, we want to leave this place because we can’t survive here anymore; we have lost our main livelihood and source of income. The remains are everywhere you go in the affected areas and the stench is horrible. Three of my youngest children are now suffering from pneumonia, diarrhea and skin diseases”. 

It’s my heartfelt belief that multifaceted interventions are required to address this devastating disaster, and bring relief to the survivors. Priority and special attention should be given to stabilise the current situation through the provision of psychosocial support, livestock restocking, generating alternative source of livelihood as well as improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene needs in order to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Note: CARE is supporting government efforts by providing water and hygiene supplies to 1494 families in 13 villages across Eyl and Dan Gorayo districts. Supplies distributed so far include wheelbarrows, water purification tablets, jerry cans, water filters, hygiene kits and mosquito nets. In addition, the team has provided non-food item kits to 420 families. The kits include sleeping mats, plastic sheets, cooking utensils and water storage containers.

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