$ 23 million raised towards rebuilding Waheen market

Business News

A total of $23 000 000 has been raised so far for the rebuilding of Waheen market in Somaliland which was guttered by fire in early April, the president announced in his final state of the nation address in his ending term of office.

The fire destroyed properties worth up to $2 billion, according to local officials.

Somaliland subsequently launched an international appeal to urgently deliver humanitarian and livelihood support.

“The committee has thus far received donations from Djibouti, Taiwan, Somalia and the World Bank.” President Muse Bihi said.

Whiles the country continues to gather support from external sources, four provision markets have already been set up.

Access to the market site has been restricted as the clean-up operation commences.

Weeks after the blaze was brought under control, smoke continued to billow from one pile of rubble. Ottoman buildings dating back to the 19th century are crumbling. Twisted sheets of corrugated iron are scattered across the site. Stock is charred and left in place, and the air remains thick with smoke and dust.

A single tree that once provided shade for Somalilanders in the open-air section of the market still stands, but is now blackened and stripped of foliage.

While no deaths were reported — the fire broke out after the market had closed — the sheer scale of the blaze has scarred Somaliland, economically and emotionally.

Authorities have estimated the economic impact of the fire at $2billion or 60 percent of Somaliland’s gross domestic product (GDP). The astronomical figure is due to the market’s centrality to Somaliland’s economy.

Much of the trade that flowed through the de facto state ended up for sale at the Waheen. “It was more than a market, it was an entire financial district,” said Mahamoud.

The disaster came as Somaliland battles fierce drought conditions, which have devastated communities throughout the Horn of Africa. The United Nations estimates  the drought has impacted over 800,000 people in Somaliland, and in February, it stressed the need for “urgent humanitarian support” for those affected.

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