The European Commission has provided EUR 100 000 in emergency humanitarian funding to assist the most vulnerable families affected by the fire that broke out at the Waaheen market in Hargeisa on 1 April 2022 – PRESS STATEMENT

The fire, suspected to have been caused by an electric shock, ravaged through the market, severely injuring twenty-seven peopledestroying buildings, shops and market stalls. The fire also caused trade disruption putting at risk the subsistence of hundreds of people, including farmers, suppliers, traders and all those working in the area.

The EU funds will support the Somali Red Crescent society to deliver much-needed support to families, especially the vendors and small shop owners who lost their entire livelihood through the fire and have no alternative income generating activities or social networks to rely on. The EU assistance will principally include two cash grant instalments of $295 and $95 respectively per family.

This cash will enable the families to buy food and water in nearby markets and to restock and restart their businesses. This operation will target and prioritise the most vulnerable of the affected, especially women headed families with many dependent children, people living with disabilities, the sick and the elderly.

Due to the sudden loss of property and livelihoods, a lot of the affected families have suffered from immense distress. Through this funding, the Somali Red Crescent society will offer community-based psychosocial support, including psychological first aid, provided by health staff and trained volunteers. Those with severe and lasting trauma disorders will be referred to other service providers for specialised care.

This project will run for four months, until late August, and will benefit 500 families severely affected by the fire and destruction of the Hargeisa market.

The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).


On the evening of 1 April, a huge fire broke out at the Waaheen market, the biggest trading market in Somaliland. The Somaliland Fire Protection Unit could only contain the fire 16 hours after it had started, making this the worst fire experienced in Somaliland in decades. In its wake, the fire completely ravaged about 1 000 shops and destroyed over 4 200 stalls and tables. Over 17 000 people, who relied directly on the market, were affected. Twenty-seven people were severely injured in the fire and rushed to the hospital for treatment.

About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid

The European Union and its Member States are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid.  Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and human-induced crises. The European Commission ensures rapid and effective delivery of EU relief assistance through its two main instruments: civil protection and humanitarian aid.

Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department (ECHO), the European Commission helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the department provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs. For more information, please visit the European Commission’s website.

About the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund

The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian delegation agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.

The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The delegation agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.

For more information, please visit the European Commission’s website.

For further information, please contact:

Mathias Eick

Regional Information Officer for East and South Africa

European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)

Tel:+254 722 791 604


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