It’s not a powerful storm, but Cyclone Pawan was poised to make an imminent landfall in Somalia early Saturday morning in a region already hard-hit this year by storms and flooding.
The storm was forecast to bring winds of 55 to 65 kilometers per hour, with gusts to 75 km/h, according to Indian officials responsible for tracking storms in the Indian Ocean. It was located along the coast near Eyl, in Nugaal province in the autonomous Puntland region.
While it was not expected to bring severe winds, the rain is arriving as Horn of Africa nations continue to recover from previous storms. Flooding is possible in Mudug, Nugaal, Bari and Sanaag.
An outlook issued by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization said heavy rains also are likely into next week in the Juba and Shabelle river basins.
“River levels along the Shabelle remain high and are anticipated to remain so in the coming week. There is a high risk of flooding along the Shabelle River,” the FAO said. “Observed river levels along the Juba increased sharply over the last few days following heavy rains in the Ethiopian highlands.”
Flooding has affected more than a half-million people in Somalia since October, with wider impacts across eastern Africa this year. To the north in Djibouti, more than a quarter of the country’s population was affected by a late-November deluge, with 150,000 people still needing assistance, the UN said in a new update.
To the south, Reuters reported Thursday that landslides in Burundi claimed 26 lives, with 10 people still missing.