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Somalia Appeals for International Aid as Cyclone Kills 150

Somalia’s government appealed for international aid to help thousands of people affected by a tropical cyclone that killed at least 150 people in the semi-autonomous northeastern region of Puntland.

The storm, known as 03A, made landfall over the weekend, resulting in heavy rains and flash floods that left many coastal and inland areas inaccessible, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said in a statement e-mailed from the capital, Mogadishu. “Urgent assistance” is required for those stranded by the disaster, he said.

“Many are feared dead and hundreds of people have lost their homes and livelihoods, crops and livestock have been lost and whole villages badly affected,” Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said in a separate statement.

Puntland, located on the tip of the Horn of Africa, declared autonomy in 1998 and seeks the creation of a federal Somali government. Companies including Africa Oil Corp. of Canada and Fort Worth, Texas-based Range Resources Corp. are exploring for oil in the semi-arid region.

Puntland Information Minister Abdurrahman Abdi Osman urged humanitarian aid agencies to organize emergency supplies by aidrop to coastal areas cut off by the storm. Thousands of livestock died in flash flooding in the region, he said.

“The death toll now stands at 150 and it can increase at any time,” he said in a phone interview today.

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