Bonn, 23/05/2018. After the devastating cyclone Sagar, which hit Gulf of Aden countries on Saturday, the situation in Somaliland is becoming critical. The autonomous region in Northwest Somalia has seen its heaviest downpours in recorded history. To date, the bodies of 30 dead have been recovered, but many areas continue to be cut off completely from the outside world. The true extent of the natural disaster in this region, already affected by drought and hunger, is gradually becoming clear now. Phone and road networks were disrupted for days. We are receiving the first eyewitness reports from our colleagues on-site:
“Flood waves up to 4 metres high roared through the dried out riverbeds, carrying animals, streets and houses with them. Almost all water pipes have been submerged. Thousands of animals have perished, and thus families have lost their most important sources of income and nutrition. For two years, and for even three or more years in the regions close to the coast, the worst drought in a century has prevailed in the Awdal region, and now the flood has destroyed the last remnants of the people’s belongings. They have lost everything,” said Thomas Hoerz, Welthungerhilfe’s Programme Manager in Somaliland, describing the current situation.
Already before the flood, many people were no longer able to feed themselves and relied on humanitarian aid. Besides the promotion of sustainable agriculture and pasture farming, Welthungerhilfe has already assisted thousands of families at risk to obtain clean drinking water, food and animal feed to combat the effects of the drought. Now tent tarpaulins, blankets, mattresses, water cans, mosquito nets and other relief items and food need to be distributed. As soon as the initial emergency has eased, the long-term measures to protect people and their animals will be continued.
Thomas Hoerz is available for interviews.
Welthungerhilfe is one of the largest private aid organisations in Germany; politically independent and non-denominational. It is fighting for “Zero Hunger by 2030”. Since it was founded in 1962, more than 8,500 overseas projects in 70 countries have been supported with 3.27 billion euros. Welthungerhilfe works on the principle of empowering people to help themselves: from rapid disaster relief to reconstruction and long-term development cooperation projects with national and international partner organisations.