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23 Nov 2020 | 06:26 AM UTC

Somalia: Tropical Cyclone Gati causes flooding and damage in following landfall in Puntland November 23 /update 1

Tropical Cyclone Gati weakens and moves into Gulf of Aden on November 23 after causing flooding and damage in Puntland; residual disruptions likely in medium term



Cyclonic storm Gati tracked across the Puntland region and moved out into the Gulf of Aden on Monday, November 23, a day after making landfall as a strong tropical cyclone. The storm made landfall near the fishing town of Hafun in the Bari region at around 18:00 (local time) on Sunday, November 22, as the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane with sustained wind speeds of up to 170kph (105mph). Local media reported that the storm caused significant flooding which submerged roads and residential properties in numerous areas as it tracked across Puntland overnight, including in Hafun, Hurdiya, and Bosaso, after more than a year's rainfall fell in less than 24 hours. At least five Yemeni fishermen are reported to have been killed after their vessel was caught in the storm off Hafun on Sunday, but it remains unclear whether there were any significant casualties ashore. Post-storm damage and impact assessments are likely to be limited and delayed given the remote areas affected by the cyclone.

Gati is currently in the Gulf of Aden after weakening into a cyclonic storm over Puntland, with sustained wind speeds of around 75kph (45mph), and is expected to continue to weaken as it tracks westwards towards Aden. However, further heavy rain is forecast for areas of northern Puntland and Somaliland in the near term, with an associated risk of flooding.


Although the country is rarely affected by tropical storms, northern areas of Somalia are occasionally hit by severe weather systems during the Northern Indian Ocean cyclone season. Such storms can cause significant flooding and devastate coastal communities, as well as bring an increased risk from water-borne diseases. In recent years, major storms such as Cyclone Sagar in 2018 and Cyclonic Storm Pawan in December 2019 have killed dozens and displaced thousands across northern Somalia.


Those in Puntland and Somaliland are advised to monitor weather reports, confirm road conditions before heading out, avoid areas directly hit by flooding, and adhere to any directives or advice issued by the local authorities and their home governments.

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