agency says more funds needed for Somalia
Canada is being urged by a leading Somali-Canadian agency
to respond to the decimated village of Hafun, Somalia, the
region in Africa hardest hit by the tsunami.
While a global outpouring saw humanitarian efforts in Thailand
and Sri Lanka, Africa has been largely ignored, maintains
Osman Ali, president of the Somali-Canadian Association of
pleading with Canadians, and the rest of the world, not to
repeat this oversight," he said Tuesday, in his office
in Thistletown Multi-Services Centre. "The money (billions
donated globally to tsunami relief) is not getting to the
remote-affected areas like Hafun. Canada is well known in
Somalia; even Hafun children are asking why do we not respond?
need to keep our tradition of helping the poorest of the poor."
Ali witnessed the Hafun devastation first-hand when he spent
five days conducting a needs assessment at the request of
Prime Minister Paul Martin.
to file his report to the PMO in two weeks, he said.
mission to Somalia follows a call by the South African government
made at the recent United Nation's relief summit in Indonesia
that the scope of the tsunami disaster response be broadened
to include affected communities in Africa such as Somalia,
Kenya, Tanzania and Mauritius.
has committed up to $425 million toward a comprehensive package
of disaster relief measures and rehabilitation assistance.
A special ministerial tsunami relief task force of cabinet
is directing and assessing Canada's ongoing relief and reconstruction
toll in Hafun is estimated at 157, most of them women, children
and the elderly who could not outrun the killer waves and
head to the mountains, Ali said. The Dec. 26 tsunami engulfed
the Puntland State coast, obliterated some 650 homes, three
of five area mosques and destroyed dozens of fishing vessels.
devastation is unbelievable," Ali said, while flipping
through photographs, and watching video footage he shot during
the mission. "There are no boats, houses, stores, restaurants.
There is nothing left."
state government estimates the damage at more than $23 million.
Ninety per cent of the state of Puntland's fishing exports
to India were lost, as thousands lost their fishing businesses,
reported Puntland president Mohamoud Musse Hirsi in a Jan.
the loss is total, and profound.
tsunami hit, Hawa Mohamed grabbed her two daughters, and her
mother and headed to the mountains, Ali recalled. Her husband,
a boat mechanic, carried their son, and went home to pick
up a few belongings.
saw them alive again.
UNICEF is meeting Mohamed's family's basic needs.
there keep hearing, 'help is on the way.' But no help is coming,"
Ali said, while quickly adding both UNICEF and the United
Nations' World Food Program were on the ground, assisting
people in Hafun with food, medicine and blankets the day after
CARE and the Red Crescent are on the ground doing assessments,
have nothing but the clothes on their back.
was very comfortable, raising my children,'" people say.
"'Now, all of a sudden, I have not a penny. How will
I feed my children their next meal?'"
are being 'adopted' by neighbours. There is no social safety
net in the area: no services, no welfare, Ali said.
waves 12- to 14-feet high first crashed the coast of Puntland
at 12:05 p.m. Dec. 26.
sea went inland for miles and miles; the city disappeared,"
said Ali, relating survivors' accounts. "People thought
it was doomsday... Then, they heard boom. They thought it
was a nuclear bomb."
and sharks, a staple of local fisheries, lay flapping on the
the fact the tsunami hit first in southeast Asia, Africans
were unprepared. While tens of thousands died in Indonesia,
India and Sri Lanka, reports indicated Africans also died:
200 Somalis, 10 Tanzanians and one Kenyan.