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Wales throws support behind Somaliland after blaze destroys market and injures dozens

Communities in Wales are throwing their support behind charitable efforts to assist people in Somaliland after a fire swept through a market destroying thousands of shops and injuring dozens.

Earlier this week, Mark Drakeford and Huw Thomas paid their respects to the people of Somaliland who endured the fire which tore through Hargeisa over the weekend.

The blaze was said to have ignited on Friday night near Waheen Market, before wildly spreading through thousands of shops.

Although the fire has been extinguished and there were no fatalities, the destruction caused is expected to have a longstanding impact on the livelihoods of Somali people.

Ali Abdi is a Welsh Somali living in Cardiff. When the news broke of disaster, he became extremely worried for his family who live in Hargeisa.

He said: “I couldn’t keep my eyes off social media. We kept trying to contact family back home, phoning uncles and aunties.

“I do take comfort in the fact there were no casualties though. Life is precious. We’re Muslim and so it’s a blessing from God that no one died.”

The damage caused by the fire also stirred up memories of Somaliland’s history of war.

He added: “We managed to rebuild from the damage of that to what we had yesterday. The people are really resilient, and we have faith that we will rise again.”

As Somaliland has been strongly connected to Wales since the 1800s, Huw Thomas also urged people in Cardiff to support charities helping the community.

He said: “With Cardiff being home to the oldest Somali community in the UK, many of us have followed the weekend news about the fire at Waheen Market, Hargeisa with real concern.”

In a Tweet, Huw Thomas specifically linked to a fundraising effort led by the organisation of Wales Somaliland Links.

As of now, they have received almost £4,000 in donations but are still £1,344 away from their overall target and need further support.

Ali has also suggested that people should donate to the Somaliland-UK Relief GoFundMe page which is seeking to raise £500,000.

“In Cardiff, groups and individuals in the community are working together and putting on fundraisers to reach the target. It’s great to see solidarity from across the world,” he said.

You can find out more about future fundraising activities here.
 

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