Somalilandsun: Twin catastrophes on the Horn of Africa have inspired a Welsh Somali community to raise awareness and funds.
A fourth year of crop failures has displaced almost one million people around Somlia’s capital city Mogadishu.
Meanwhile, Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway republic of Somaliland, has been totally devastated by a fire at the Waheen Market .
The community has come together to raise relief funds at their Eid celebrations in Grangetown, Cardiff.
Organiser Ali Abdi said: “The Waheen Market fire wiped out 100% of the market, which makes up 40-60% of the Somaliland economy.
“350,000 children are at risk of starvation in Somalia owing to the drought there.
“We’re not competing between the two, rather asking people to open their hearts to both disasters, at a time when even British-based Somalis are facing the cost of living crisis.”
‘Act now or 350,000 children will die in this drought
He said rescuers had faced some heartbreaking decisions in recent weeks, including having to judge whether life-saving tankers of water would be better deployed extinguishing the rampant blaze in Hargeisa or delivering life-saving hydration to those in famine-hit areas.
“I can only be thankful that I wasn’t the one who had to make the decision about who was most in need, it’s two desperately sad situations and both of them are caused by climate change and the drought,” he added.
“In some areas of Britain there have been tensions between the Somali and Somaliland groups, but I’m thankful to say that in Cardiff – the biggest diaspora in Europe – we are totally united to both causes.”
Nobody was killed in the late-night Hargeisa fire, which Mr Abdi called a “Ramadan miracle”.
However, 12,000 people lost their living and more than one million people’s trade has been affected.
Meanwhile the BBC World Service’s Mercy Juma described a six-month-old baby from Mogadishu weighing half her expected weight, with sunken eyes and wrinkled skin.
Last weekend saw Cardiff’s Grange Gardens transformed for the community fundraiser, but Mr Abdi says no-one’s thoughts were ever far removed from their homeland.
“Eid is rightly a time of celebration, but it’s also a time for us all to think about charity and those less fortunate than ourselves, so we’re donating all the funds from this weekend’s party to the disasters.”
Mr Abdi added that fundraising was far more helpful than donating goods as “well-intentioned gifts of clothes and pots are difficult to sort into the things which people urgently require and are costly to ship”.
He added: “So when we have an event like this it’s a win-win. Hopefully everyone has had fun and we raise the money which everyone in need desperately requires.” Source