Officials in northern Somalia said a massive fire has reduced Hargeisa’s main market into ashes overnight, injuring more than 20 people and destroying hundreds of businesses.
Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi said during a visit to Waheen that about 28 people were injured, nine of them women, but no death was reported.
Officials said the fire that broke out on Friday evening at Waheen market, the lifeblood of the city with an estimated 2,000 shops and stalls, was largely brought under control at dawn on Saturday.
“The town has never witnessed such a massive calamity,” Hargeisa Mayor Abdikarim Ahmed Mooge said.
“This place was the economic center of Hargeisa and even though the firefighters did their best to contain the fire, the market is destroyed,” Mooge added.
Mooge also said that the firefighters’ efforts were hampered by access problems as the market had no proper streets, only narrow pathways.
Meanwhile, Hargeisa Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jamal Aideed said that the market accounted for 40% to 50% of the city’s economy.
“I had several businesses in the market and all of them burned to ashes. All we can learn from this disaster is to plan the market well,” market trader Bashi Ali said.
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