Dahabshiil Group is calling on the business community in the Horn of Africa region and the international community to come together and help small businesspeople who lost their properties in the fire at Jigjiga New Taiwan open air Market on the weekend.

Dahabshiil Group Chief Executive Officer Abdirashid Duale said the fire has affected the livelihoods of many small scale businesspeople whose income depended on their businesses at the market.

Caption: firefighter working to stop the fire that razed down the Taiwan Open air market in Jigjiga, the regional Somali state in Ethiopia. PHOTO: COURTESY

Property worth millions of dollars went up in smoke on Friday night in the fire whose cause if yet to be established.

Duale, who visited the site of the fire, said those who lost their property were small businessmen and women who play a major role in the economic growth of Jigjiga, the capital of the Somali regional state in Ethiopia. The fire also signals a devastating and negative effect on the consumers who were already dealing with humanitarian crises including drought, food security, rising cost of living.

The Dahabshiil CEO announced the company had donated 20 million birr to businesses affected by the fire.

“We urge well-wishers in the region and globally as well as the diaspora to contribute through the Emergency Committee,” Duale said as he announced Dahabshiil, through its money transfer company and Bank will waive commission for all donations to the committee.

Duale further emphasised the importance of fire preparedness and urged both the private and public sector to contribute to increasing capacity in fire preparedness in the horn of Africa, a region which has witnessed increased fires on its open air markets recently. It is anticipated that fire incidents will increase with the climate change being witnessed across the globe.

Firefighters and army extinguished the fire that ripped through the open-air market.

Aerial photographs reveal the severity of the blaze. The police have initiated an investigation into the cause of the fire.

A delegation led by regional president Mustafa Omer, accompanied by federal and regional officials, arrived at the site to assess the extent of the damages.

No reports of fatalities or serious injuries resulted from the fire.

In March 2022, a fire engulfed one of Jigjiga’s largest markets, destroying shops that sold second-hand clothes and the vegetable market. Traders suspected that the fire from the previous year was caused by a malfunctioning tank belonging to the market’s electricity companies, although the official cause has not been confirmed. Effects of fire on any market in the horn of Africa extend across the regions as the people are interconnected and trade with each other.