Somalilandsun: A week after the blaze ravaged Waaheen Market — injuring at least 28 people and causing an estimated $2 billion in property damage — members of the the Twin Cities Somali community are coming together to raise funds for those who lost their livelihoods.
The Somali-Americans have set aside there political differences, pro and anti Somalia-Somaliland reunion aside to join hands in response to the catastrophe ”
The political differences detente is imperative as it happens at a time when the international community is watching the war in Ukraine, thus Somali-Americans and others in the diaspora under increasing pressure to raise awareness of the Waheen market fire and to lift those most affected by the economic loss.
This joining hands was !revealed by the Minnesota News in the city home to over 700,000 Somali-Americans in a story below titled “Local Somali community raises funds after fire in Somaliland”
Quote- On the eve of Ramadan, Abdi Warfa, a faculty member at the University of Minnesota, turned to international news to find a shocking sight.
A massive fire broke out in an open market place in Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa, destroying hundreds of small businesses and the economic engine of their hometown.
Decades ago, his parents ran a wholesale clothing store among those stalls. Warfa returned last summer to buy school uniforms for his children, who are visiting family in the area. Every week, his wife used to board the bus there to buy fresh meat.
Then, almost overnight, what was once a bustling commercial district low in rubble,
“It’s a real disaster right before your eyes,” said Warfa, an assistant professor of biology who emigrated to the United States in the 1990s. “Someone who’s gone through that market will understand what that means… imagine the Mall of America with 7,000 people.”
after one week Fire-ravaged Wahen Market – Injuring at least 28 people and causing an estimated $2 billion in property damage – Members of the Twin Cities Somali community are coming together to raise money for those who lost their livelihoods.
Local imams are asking for donations from mosques and business leaders in the area launched a gofundme Page to send relief to the Hargeisa mayor’s office, which is leading the reconstruction efforts. On Saturday night, community groups were hosting a fundraising dinner at the St. Paul’s Event Center for Iftar, where up to 500 attendees could break their fast.
Event organizer Abdirahman Kahin stressed that the April 1 fire marked the city’s worst economic disaster since the civil war and would have far-reaching effects beyond Somaliland’s borders. The market, which supplies 4 to 5 million people each year, was preparing for the holy month of Ramadan, which is often the busiest season for Muslim shoppers.
“It’s where people make their money,” said Kahin, who co-owns the Afro Deli restaurant chain. “It’s like the state fair. People trust that [income],
In times of tragedy, relatives facing storms in their homeland rely on money sent from the Somali diaspora to provide aid, he said. Today, Minnesota is home to an estimated 70,000 Somalis – the largest population in the United States. Somaliland is an autonomous region within the country of Somalia.
“These people are looking at us; they are not looking at NGOs or international donors,” said Kahin, who aims to send back about $300,000 in aid. “We are the first responders to their crisis.”
Kahin swung into action after pictures of the fire went viral on social media late last week, calling an emergency meeting with community leaders the next day. Within 24 hours, the organizers sold 500 tickets for the event. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar both agreed to participate.
Many of the guests have close ties to the East African region and have participated in past philanthropic efforts to fight the devastating drought that lasted three long seasons. Local organizations raised more than $600,000 over two years for that cause, Kahin said. However, Somali-Americans fear that the latest catastrophe could spark inflation and take a decade to recover.
“There are a lot of people living in that area day after day,” said Mohamed Gulad, CEO of Douce, a Bloomington-based company that stocks an estimated 200 stores in the same market with baby formula, diapers and pharmaceuticals. want to do everything we can to help them get their business back up and running.”
Those who know the area well are relieved that no lives were lost in the crowded market, where foot traffic is often so heavy that it can be difficult to navigate the streets – or find an exit. Can be difficult to install. “When I go there, I can smell people’s breath, how close they are to each other,” Guled said. “I don’t know how many people got out so early. It’s just a miracle.”
At a time when the international community is watching the war in Ukraine, organizers say Somali-Americans are under increasing pressure to raise awareness of the fires and to lift those most affected by the economic loss.
“We have to fill the gap that the rest of the world in general will help,” Professor Warfa said. “People are setting aside their political differences to join hands.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.