Somaliland president issues an international appeal for the WAAHEEN Market Fire Disaster

Hargeisa (SLpost)- Somaliland president Muse Bihi Abdi has today issued an international appeal for the WAAHEEN Market Fire Disaster that affected the population in the country’s capital, Hargeisa.

Somaliland president, Muse Bihi Abdi

In his appeal, the president says that the disaster has triggered an immediate rise in commodity prices and worsened the already prevailing global inflation.

Below is the appeal issued by Somaliland president.

“The Waaheen market has been rated as one of the most economically vibrant trading centers in Somaliland and has been the seat of all financial exchange transactions in the region. It serves the entire country of Somaliland and most of the neighboring countries.

On 1st April, 2022, an immense fire engulfed the entire market and rendered it into oblivion. Fortunately, the human causalities consisted of 27 burned individuals and no deaths reported. This unprecedented fire disaster affected every family in Hargeisa, directly or indirectly, and thus the economic and psychological impacts on the affected population is undoubtedly enormous. In this regard, we are launching for a combined US$2 billion to urgently deliver humanitarian and livelihood support to an estimated 5,000 small, medium, and large family businesses.

Furthermore, it is important to underline that the disaster has triggered an immediate and steep rise in commodity prices and has worsened the already prevailing globally triggered inflation. We need to ramp up our response now to mitigate and protect the lives of the most vulnerable populations; mostly women and children. We must respond with compassion and solidarity collectively, including a) the donors, b) the private sector c) the Government of Somaliland, d) the Somaliland Diaspora and e) the international community.

The envisaged programme includes multipurpose cash assistance for the most vulnerable group of the affected population, food assistance, and shelter assistance to rehabilitate damaged buildings. The plan aims to deliver support to the municipal authorities to maintain and establish six (6) temporary locations for the affected population to carry on their businesses while the main market (Waaheen) is being re-built and re-introduced.

While we have seen tremendous solidarity from neighboring countries and beyond, and the local population, much more support will be needed to assist and prevent any humanitarian disaster. Together and united, we could redress alleviating the suffering of this population. In order to effectively coordinate all inputs (national and international), and to ensure a high level of accountability and transparency, I have designated a high-level national committee at the ministerial level augmented by the mayor of Hargeisa, the Governor of the Maroodi-jeeh region assisted by highly qualified emergency experts.

This is an emergency of a high-level magnitude and time is of essence. We are appealing to all the international communities and friends of Somaliland to effect an immediate resource mobilization supplemented by technical expertise as deemed essential. In close coordination with all the public institutions, the private sector, and the Somaliland Diaspora, and the international community we are committed not to leaving any stone unturned. An integrated plan for the envisaged humanitarian, rehabilitation, and livelihood interventions will be molded comprehensively and it will be carried out in phases and based on vulnerability criteria.”

Attached with the president’s appeal is the preliminary report on the fire-devastated market issued by the National Relief and Support Committee to the Victims of Waaheen Market.