A tropical cyclone codenamed “SAGAR” has hit Somaliland. The worst affected area is Adwal province, part of the region which encompasses Henley’s friendship-linked town of Borama.
The cyclone, described as the strongest ever recorded in the Horn of Africa, formed in the Gulf of Aden and has affected Djibouti and Somalia as well as Somaliland. Estimates of the dead in Somaliland vary from 16 up to 60. In addition, livestock have drowned and crops, homes and infrastructure have been destroyed.
Henley’s friendship link with Borama was established in 1982 by the then Mayor of Henley, Dr Noel Snell, at the suggestion of Henley residents Malcolm Page and Michael Walsh, both of whom had lived in Borama. At that time Borama was about the same size as Henley, but it has since grown substantially. The political situation has also changed: Borama is in the former British Protectorate of Somaliland, which in 1982 was part of Somalia and ruled from Mogadishu. But in the 1988-91 civil war, Somaliland claimed back its independence from Somalia; however it is not yet recognised by the international community.
One effect of the civil war was that many Somali refugees came to live in the UK. They have established a charity, Samason’s Relief, to help their friends and relatives back home. Contact between Henley and Borama has been revived by collaboration between the Henley-Borama Friendship Association and Samason’s Relief, who jointly organise the annual Borama Comes to Henley event.
Samason’s Relief is collecting donations to help people affected by the cyclone. Henley residents can donate by making payments directly into the charity’s account, using reference HBFA:
Sort Code 30 97 76
Account Number 16002660
Account Name Samasons Relief
Registered Charity Number 1144235
Henley Mayor Councillor Glen Lambert, who is President of the Henley-Borama Friendship Association, said “ Many people may not be aware of the friendship association between Henley and the Borama Region of Somalia but they may have noticed that the road to the Regal Picture House is called Boroma Way; or they might have been in Mill Meadows for the annual Borama Comes to Henley event. Unfortunately the Borama region in Somalia has suffered a devastating cyclone that has claimed many lives. Anyone who would like to donate to help the relief effort is encouraged to do so via Samasons.”
For updates from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, see