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Last Updated: Monday, 26 December 2005, 12:09 GMT
Tsunami: Somalia's slow recovery
Martin Plaut
BBC Africa editor

Ruins left by the tsunami
The tsunami crashed through many fishermen's homes
Close to the tip of the Horn of Africa in Somalia, a community is starting to recover from the tsunami of a year ago.

While the tsunami of 26 December 2004 did its worst damage in South-East Asia, the giant waves also travelled across the Indian Ocean to East Africa.

Somalia, already one of the poorest and most war-torn countries of the region, was worst affected, with 289 people reported dead or missing.

The worst hit Somali community was on the peninsula of Hafun.

This community depends on fishing for lobster, shark and kingfish for export.

Some have small gardens in which they grow vegetables and cowpeas.

Livelihoods lost

When the tsunami struck it swept away boats, inundated plots and destroyed around 800 buildings.

Across Somalia a total of 600 boats were lost, depriving whole communities of a means of earning their living.

One of the first responses came from the Western naval forces based in neighbouring Djibouti.

A German frigate, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, was sent to Hafun, and used its helicopter to airlift in some immediately needed supplies. But after providing three cartons of bottled water and one carton of food, they left.

The UN's World Food Programme was also on the ground and by the 7 January had provided 218 tonnes of food to 12,000 people.

New town

A new town is now under construction in Hafun - this time built 500 metres from the sea.

A covered market has been constructed, and a centre where women can meet.

Aid agencies have helped the fishing fleet get back in the water, with Action Aid so far providing around 40 boats.

New roads have been built and more help is promised for next year.

But Somalia has had no effective government since 1991, and until that can be rectified no amount of outside aid will really get its people back on their feet.



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