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Somali company’s emergency response to bombing victims draws praise

While Mogadishu has come to terms with the tragic days, the overwhelming response to one Somali company’s emergency response has been positive.

By John Thiongo, john@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – As a truck bomb just struck a crowded junction in the Somali capital on Saturday, killing hundreds people and injured many others, an emergency response would have been the most critical action one could have taken to save lives.

It wasn’t easy, but the actions of one Somali company that has taken matters into its hands to assist with rescue and recovery efforts that had Somalis praising it.

Having become the first responder, Hormuud Telecom, Somalia’s largest telecommunications company  had crossed an extra miles in its immediate intervention.

Hormuud firefighters battle a raging fire at the blast scene.

It was amid this chaos, with fuel tanks exploding, power lines falling down and tall flames inching forward that Its two firefighting vehicles, along with water tankers and dozens of its employees became the first responders to arrive at scene, helping to put out the huge fire caused by the massive bombing, the deadliest in Somalia’s history that killed at least 356 people.

Meanwhile, it’s that emergency effort that had allowed rescue workers and ambulances to access the scene, earning emotional praises from Somalis around the world.

TIRELESS EFFORT

That was not the end. However, the company’s managers who have dedicate their entire time in helping in the ongoing rescue efforts have also visited hospitals across the city overwhelmed with many causalities, donating over $100,000 that covered the medical expenses of hundreds in the hospitals and fees for their attendants.

Hormuud officials speak to the media at Digfer hospital in Mogadishu during a visit to the bombing victims.

In addition, Hormuud Foundation, a non profit organization funded by the company has meanwhile teamed up with international aid agencies including UN agencies and foreign embassies that stepped up search and rescue efforts, including providing urgent life-saving assistance, according to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Coordination (OCHA).

Hormuud appeared in UNOCHA’s CASUALTY TRACKING & SUPPORT list

“Had all other businesses acted like that to save lives, we would have been a nation of success!” said Ahmed Mohamed, in a Facebook post.

SHARED PAIN

Meanwhile, the latest bombing, the worst in Somalia has affected almost everyone in the Somali capital, including the company.

Its deputy chairman and several of its employees were among over 200 people who were wounded in the powerful blast that had also inflicted a significant material damage on its headquarters in the city.

SOCIAL MEDIA ABUZZ

While Mogadishu has come to terms with the tragic days, the overwhelming response to Hormuud’s emergency response has been positive.

An official fom Hormuud Foundation hands over a cash donation to a man who was injured in the deadliest bombing in Somalia at a hospital in Mogadishu

Thousands of Somalis have taken to the social media, calling other companies to follow suit in assisting people during disaster moments.

Nearly two decades, residents in the Somali capital which is recovering from decades of war hasn’t had a public fire brigade until recently had to rely on Hormuud’s firefighting team in responding to the emergency crisis including fire incidents that helped save lives and properties

“Great job Hormuud! You’re a good example of Somalia’s resilience.” tweeted Mohamed Nur, a Somali aid worker, based in Nairobi.

Another Twitter use Fowzia said that the company’s emergency response has turned things around, calling it absolute humanitarian’.

“I salute you Hormuud – Thank you for saving our people’s lives.” she tweeted from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

(Additional reporting and editing by Judy Maina in Nairobi, Kenya) 

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