Somaliland: Failure in emergency preparedness by Borama authorities

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I am deeply shocked to see that the authorities in Borama failed to rescue and save the precious lives of three innocent kids from the same family during an unfortunate incident in Borama after their house was abruptly caught on fire.

The children were left alone and locked inside the house at the time of the incident in the morning by their mother who went out to the market to fetch the meal of the day. My heartfelt condolences first to the bereaved family and May the Almighty Allah grant Jannah for the deceased children and comfort to their parents.

The parents of the children must have been devastated as they lost all their children in their ward in one go. This gross negligence unveils how life is too hazardous to cherish in our patrimony and how the setting is too unbearable to dream it for a better future. Volunteers from the neighborhood have been the first to intervene to bring the fire under control but in vain. The reason of their failure was that the volunteers applied sand and water which cannot extinguish the fire of such scale.

This could amount to dereliction of duties from the part of competent authorities and no one can be vindicated from their assigned responsibilities to act when such emergencies arise. The intervention of the firefighters arrived the scene too late and their show up is nothing but tokenism. By all standards, nothing would justify this loss of life which instigates a negative feeling to every sane person. One good lesson can be learnt from this incident which is that the coordination element between the authorities is missing if an emergency strikes. Also, there is no effective connecting network between the community and the police to exchange the information in real-time and place.

We can pick up the existing gap and the urgent need to boost the capacity of the police and other local competent authorities to strengthen their convergent and divergent efforts on emergencies. The emergency strikes with no notice and it does not have panacea but mitigation. A piece of advice to the central authority is to cede seeding money from the locally collected revenues and should not take all to the pool.

With this, the local authorities would be more efficient and packed in response to the incidents. For the local authorities, they should raise the awareness of the community about the risk surrounding the fire and the other harming circumstances. They can also outreach international organizations based in the area for further help. The last but not the least, the overwhelming hardships and the mismanagement prevailing in the area have taken some to the grace and others to the grass.

By Mohamed Barkhad Riyale

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