A groundbreaking ceremony for the Ayaha IV Shelter and Resettlement Project was held at the Ambassador Hotel in Hargeisa on 18 March 2013. The project involves the construction of 350 permanent low-cost housing units and prioritized community infrastructure (e.g. a piped water system, solid waste collection point, and community centre) for returnees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and the urban poor.
The Vice-President of Somaliland, HE Abdirahman Abdilahi Ismail, presided over the ceremony. Other government dignitaries included Sulaiman Essa Ahmed, Minister of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction, Mohamoud Ahmed Barre, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Ali Mohamed Abdale, Director General of the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction, and the acting director generals of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Mining, Energy, and Water Resources. Mohamed Mohamoud Ali, Governor of Marodi-Jeex Region, and Abdi Aziz Mohamed Hashi, Deputy Mayor of Hargeisa, also attended.
One after another, the dignitaries expressed gratitude to the government and the people of Japan for their continuous, generous support to vulnerable groups in Somaliland. They also praised the tireless efforts of UN-Habitat in addressing the shelter, land, and livelihood needs of IDPs, returnees, and the urban poor in Hargeisa.
Omar Adan spoke on behalf of the project beneficiaries and thanked the people of Japan for providing them with permanent shelter and secure land tenure. However, he outlined basic community needs that still need to be addressed. These include basic health and education services.
Marco van der Plas spoke on behalf of UN-Habitat and praised the excellent collaboration between UN-Habitat and Somaliland’s relevant government institutions, namely the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and Hargeisa Municipality. He announced that, with the help of the people of Japan, UN-Habitat will soon be able to expand its current shelter activities beyond Hargeisa to Burao, Boroma, and Berbera, with 475 permanent low-cost housing units.
Vice-President Abdirahman Abdilahi Ismail expressed the Government of Somaliland’s sincere gratitude to the people of Japan. He urged the project beneficiaries to seriously take advantage of this opportunity and take care of the provided houses.
At the end of the ceremony, the Vice-President and his delegation visited the Ayaha IV area. Paolo Pompili, UN-Habitat’s chief construction engineer, provided explanations on the settlement plans, housing design, layout of the site, and anticipated progress.