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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 January, 2005, 06:44 GMT
Somalis struggle to rebuild lives
By Adam Mynott
BBC News, Somalia

Somalis wait for food aid
Aid agencies fear the tsunami may divert help from Africa
A fortnight after the tsunami struck, Mohammed Awor is still picking his way through the wreckage of his shop, trying to recover items of value.

The fishing settlement of Hafun, in north-east Somalia, is more than 7,000km (4,000 miles) from the epicentre of the earthquake.

But even though the wave had lost much of its power, a 3m wall of water crashed through Mohammed's home, destroying everything.

He and many of his friends were out at sea fishing at the time.

But 19 people in Hafun were killed and dozens were left without anywhere to live.

Mohammed's friend Ali Gaur was washed out to sea with his brother.

Ali spent four days floating on wreckage in the Indian Ocean until prevailing winds blew him back to land. He is still looking for his brother, but he fears he is dead.

The harrowing tales are much the same, but the damage was on nothing like the scale of Indonesia or South Asia.

That however is of no comfort to Mohammed and his friends in Hafun.

Relief supplies

Some of the people whose homes were destroyed have built temporary shelters high on the hillsides overlooking the sea, fearing that the destructive waves may come again.

Others are trying to build makeshift sea defences.

Somali family by a shelter
Many whose homes were destroyed have retreated to high land

The fishermen have started to go back to sea again. They sell their catch of fish and lobsters to ships' captains from Dubai and Yemen who sit off the coast.

Hafun is thought to have been the worst affected settlement on the north-eastern coast of Somalia, where the dry desert mountains run down into the sea.

Relief agencies have been adjusting their estimates of people caught up in the disaster.

A figure of more than 100,000 affected was halved after the first few days, and then pushed down again to about 30,000, with about 200 killed - although this may be an over-assessment.

Rival warlords

The World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations has been trucking relief supplies to Hafun from the capital of Puntland, Bosasso - a long and hazardous journey.

Ruins left by the tsunami
The tsunami crashed through many fishermen's homes

Maulid Warfa of the WFP says the main objective is to get food, water and, where necessary, medical supplies to the worst cases - families who have lost their homes and means of earning a livelihood.

Other UN agencies and NGOs are on the ground in Hafun as well.

Somalia has been without any effective government for 14 years.

In the meantime, the country has been torn apart by internecine conflict between rival warlords.

What worries many is that countries in Africa, like Somalia, were in desperate need of international assistance before the tsunami - and they fear the outpouring of donations to badly affected countries further east will inevitably lead to reduced aid for this continent.

Somalia's victims have attracted little attention



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