Jigjiga, the administrative capital of the Somali regional state in Ethiopia, experienced a tragic incident on Friday night as a massive fire engulfed the Taiwan market, the largest market in the city.
Witnesses reported that the inferno caused extensive damage, with the market completely destroyed.
Comparing the disaster to the Waaheen market fire that occurred in Hargeysa, Somaliland, in April last year, eyewitnesses noted that the destruction caused by the Taiwan market fire was immense. Fortunately, no fatalities or serious injuries were reported.
Despite efforts to extinguish the flames, the fire raged on uncontrollably, and the cause of the incident is still unknown. Firefighting assistance was dispatched from Hargeisa, Dirdhabe, and Harar to help local people and regional officials, but their arrival was too late to prevent the extensive damage caused by the fire.
Last year in March, a similar incident occurred in Jigjiga’s largest market, where a fire swept through the shops selling second-hand clothes and the vegetable market.
Traders suspected that the cause of the previous year’s fire was a tank from the market’s electricity companies, although the official cause has not been confirmed.
The Taiwan market was an essential hub for the region’s economy, with traders from across the country and beyond converging to buy and sell an array of goods, including livestock, clothing, and various agricultural products.
The market was also a popular destination for tourists visiting the city.
The loss of the Taiwan market is a significant blow to the local economy, and the impact of the fire is expected to be felt for years to come.
The incident highlights the need for enhanced safety measures in markets across the region to prevent such disasters from occurring in the future.
The government and regional officials have assured the affected traders and business owners of their support and pledged to work towards rebuilding the market. However, the road to recovery will be long and challenging, and it will require the support and cooperation of all stakeholders to restore the market’s glory.