Somalia: Wildfire engulfs Sanaag region, destroys forest
HARGEISA, Somalia - Authorities in Somaliland, a breakaway region in northern Somalia reported a huge wildfire that destroyed one of the most cherished forest covers in the breakaway region which has been fighting for independence despite being part of the federal republic of Somalia.
Reports from Sanaag, a disputed region between Somaliland and Puntland, say wildfire destroyed Gaacidh mountainous forest, threatening wildlife and destroying mountain pastures and trees. The fire started on Sunday and by Tuesday, it was still burning.
A village chairman, Salad Salah Mohamed, told state media that the fire started on Sunday and was still on by Tuesday. According to him, strong winds in the region blew the fire further causing massive damage to the northern state of Somalia.
"The fire started on Sunday at 5:00 pm, and the village has been on high alert since Sunday. Storms are present in the summer. A fire alarm has been transmitted to the government authorities, but the fire still exists," he stated.
About 20 kilometers have been affected so far according to authorities in Somaliland. He said that the village administration had previously expressed their fear of a fire in the mountainous pasture and forests.
A few months ago, a huge fire burnt the Waheen market in Somaliland's capital Hargeisa, causing massive losses to traders. A number of well-wishers ha e since contributed to the renovation of the market which is considered the largest in Somalia.
Sanaag region has been a point of contention between Puntland and Somaliland for many years. Fire outbreaks are however common during dry periods across the world.