Save the Children is deeply concerned about the impact on children and their families of Cyclone Gati, the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in Somalia on record. According to reports, 70,000 people, including 32,000 children, have been forced to flee after the cyclone wreaked devastation across Puntland state. Heavy rains and strong winds of 115 mph have triggered flash flooding, causing at least 40,000 people to lose their homes. In the Bari region of Puntland, heavy rainfall is still ongoing and causing flooding, making the total number of victims likely to rise in the coming days.
Mohamoud Hassan, Save the Children’s Country Director for Somalia, said:
“Most of the affected people are from pastoralist families, whose livelihoods had already been severely damaged by recurring droughts over the past few years. Their herds have dwindled, making their situation extremely difficult even before this storm hit. Many had already been displaced and had little protection against extreme weather events like this cyclone – and now they are without access to even the most basic shelter.
“As in all humanitarian crises, children are among the most vulnerable, and this storm has worsened a pre-existing crisis for young people in Somalia.
“Over the past year, locust swarms destroyed the crops of hundreds of farms and severe flooding had already displaced thousands of families in the south of the country. Like everywhere else in the world, people in Somalia have not been able to escape the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the poorest and most vulnerable people the hardest and brought about a huge loss of livelihoods.
“Save the Children is currently responding in affected areas, where people are in dire need of emergency food assistance, clean water, medical supplies and shelter.”
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