Somaliland: Devastating Impact of Burao Shower Storm an Early Warning of Upcoming El Nino


A very brief shower storm of not more than a few minutes killed at least two people in Burao, injured around 20, blew the roofs off from more than a thousand tin houses and shacks or wiped them away from the map, knocked down schools, sports stadiums and flooded the whole city.

According to the district and regional authorities of Burao, Togdheer, the destruction could have been much worse if the windy showers lasted a little longer.

The attached forecasted scenarios for this weather phenomena – El Nino – which started in February and is expected to last throughout the year indicates that there is a:

“Possibility of flooding along Somalia and Kenya’s river systems. Favourable pasture and marginal agricultural conditions in arid and semi-arid areas due to enhanced rainfall.”

Some ‘rainfalls’ can be, to some, as devastating, as destructive, as fatal as hurricanes and tornadoes are to others.

The El Nino of 2015 is said to be more intense and much more devastating than that of 1997.

Neighboring KETFS Outlook 2015-12enya put some 120 billion KShs aside for an expected brush with El Nino in October. It put 70 000 volunteers on standby, too, to help affected areas and offset the expected ferocity of the rains and the flooding.

As for Somaliland, nobody is even aware of the looming disaster.

Last evening and what happened in Burao is a tiny precursor of what can happen until the end of the year. Nobody will be safe and snug in the face of these rain storms given the poor or non-existent sewage systems, poorer urban planning, teetering bridges, questionable architectural soundness of buildings big and small, weak conditions of livestock and people in nomadic areas and many in urban settings and the total  absence of disaster preparedness of nation and its institutions. None.

We ask the government of Somaliland, national and international NGOs, the national parties and the general public to dust off their lethargy and gear up for a dual with the upcoming Baby (El Nina, El Nino).

It is especially imperative that we warn the more vulnerable in society and help them meet the Baby already thundering towards these areas in near equal terms – at the least.

According to the Wikipedia:

El Niño /ɛl ˈnnj/ (Spanish pronunciation: [el ˈniɲo]) is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (commonly called ENSO) and is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific (between approximately theInternational Date Line and 120°W), including off the Pacific coast of South America. El Niño Southern Oscillation refers to the cycle of warm and cold temperatures, as measured by sea surface temperature, SST, of the tropical central and eastern Pacific Ocean. El Niño is accompanied by high air pressure in the western Pacific and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific. The cool phase of ENSO is called “La Niña” with SST in the eastern Pacific below average and air pressures high in the eastern and low in western Pacific. The ENSO cycle, both El Niño and La Niña, causes global changes of both temperatures and rainfall.[2][3] Mechanisms that cause the oscillation remain under study.

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The on-going El Nino event, officially declared in March, will remain active throughout 2015 and is very likely to extend into the first quarter of 2016.

The event is now strengthening towards its peak intensity which should be reached in late 2015. There is a significant chance that this event could be close or even exceed the strongest levels on record.

The event is being influencing all growing seasons of the northern hemisphere, as well as those of equatorial regions (Horn of Africa, Indonesia) of late 2015, and will be influencing those of southern Africa and South America from late 2015 to early 2016.

The impacts are wide-ranging and generally negative in countries facing food insecurity.

Scenarios in pdf: wfp277846


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