BERBERA (Somalilandpress) — A FIRE engine is swapping the streets of Cardiff to become an African city’s first major piece of firefighting equipment.

An “end of life” fire engine will be sent from the Cardiff Central Fire Station to newly-trained fire crews in Hargeisa in Somaliland – a region bidding for independence from Somalia – thanks to a donation from the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service. The gift follows a plea for help from the Somalia Integration Society in Cardiff and the mayor of Hargeisa.

Ibrahim Harbi, leading the project for the society, said: “There has recently been an increase in the number of related fire incidents in Hargeisa, and unfortunately many lives, properties and businesses were lost due to the lack of fire and rescue equipment.
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“This project has a great potential to save many lives in Hargeisa and also to increase and improve the employment prospects for the Somali young people in Wales with the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

“We are very grateful to the Fire and Rescue Service and their support is greatly appreciated.”

The group and local authorities in Hargeisa joined together to raise the money to transport the equipment.

Training will be provided to four members of Cardiff’s Somali community who will, in turn, pass on their skills to about 20 people who will form the fire crew.

Andy Thomas, head of operations, leading the project for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said the donation would help build a bond between the Somali communities in South Wales and in Somalia.

He said: “We are extremely pleased to have been able to work alongside the Somali Integration Society in Cardiff and provide the City of Hargeisa with this much needed firefighting equipment.”

by Julia McWatt, South Wales Ech

Source: WalesOnline | Thursday – June 24, 2010