Somalis 'killed in Puntland' during tropical cyclone

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A tropical cyclone that hit the north-eastern Somali region of Puntland over the weekend killed up to 100 people, the regional leader has told the BBC.

Puntland's President Abdirahman Farole said thousands of livestock had also died and hundreds of homes had been destroyed.

The semi-autonomous region was hit by strong winds, heavy rains and flash floods on Saturday and Sunday.

Some fishermen have also been reported missing.

The tropical cyclone, known as 03A, hit the Eyl, Beyla, Dangorayo and Hafun districts along the eastern coast and across to Alula at the tip of the Horn of Africa.

'Blown away'

Start Quote

Preliminary information also indicates that homes, buildings, boats and entire villages have been destroyed”

End Quote Government statement

"I have buried 10 members of my family, the icy storm and rain killed more than 100 people here," a resident of Eyl, Hussein Abdullahi, told the Reuters news agency.

"I have never witnessed such fatal cold. Some people were blown away and others died after their houses collapsed on them."

The storm was forecast to move inland and continue until Wednesday.

Mr Farole called for international help, saying the crisis was "immense".

"Preliminary information also indicates that homes, buildings, boats and entire villages have been destroyed and over 100,000 livestock lost, endangering the livelihoods of tens of thousands of local people," the government said, in a statement.

Mohamed Aideed Dirir, Puntland's minister of planning, told the BBC Somali Service that more than 10 lorries loaded with food, water and blankets have been sent to the affected communities from the capital, Garowe, and the town of Bossasso.

Electricity had been disrupted and mobile phone masts destroyed, making communication extremely difficult, Mr Dirir said.

Eyl Deputy Commissioner Feisal Kali told the AFP news agency that "people are getting confused and the situation is getting worse".

Many people in Puntland are poor, although it is rich in energy resources.

The region is also a base for pirates who attack ships off the coast.

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