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Somali NGO Says Tsunami Damage Worse Than Reported

The head of a Somali NGO says media reports have underestimated the number of dead and displaced in Somalia following last week’s tsunami. And he says much of the country’s fishing industry has been destroyed.

United Nations and transitional Somali government officials continue their assessment of the country and hope to have a final report this week.

However, the president of the Somali Fisheries Society, Dr. Musse Gabobe Hassan, says reports he’s receiving from within Somalia paint a bleak picture. He told English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua that reports he’s receiving through e-mail and phone calls say as many as 200 are dead, 500,000 homeless, and about 500 fishing boats destroyed.

He says most of Somalia’s population lives along the coast. He says many fishermen are now afraid to venture back out to sea. He says the country’s fishing industry has been growing over the last 15 years because war and drought have hurt agriculture.