Mogadishu’s Iconic Lighthouse Partially Collapses in Tragic Twist of Fate, Leaving Locals in Disarray

May 9, 2023 – Mogadishu, Somalia.

It is with profound grief that we report on the loss of four innocent lives as a result of the historic Lighthouse in Mogadishu suffering a partial collapse. What does this harrowing incident say about the preservation of the city’s precious, scarce historic landmarks and homes? And what can we do to combat the displacement crisis that has now seen countless individuals searching for shelter in abandoned, dilapidated spaces?

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Mogadishu has for long been a city of great eminence, replete with stunning waterfront vistas and some of the world’s most beautiful architecture. This iconic Lighthouse, first erected by the Italians in the early 1900s, used to serve as the city’s emblem of hope and prosperity. It guided all ships safely into the harbor, embodying the city’s hope and promise. But now, owing to manmade conflicts and the long, unflinching march of time, numerous Mogadishu landmarks are in a state of ruin.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mogadishu is now home to almost 400,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). As much as one-third of the Somali IDP population has flocked to Mogadishu, with 55% of them overcrowding the suburbs. The countless number of individuals who now rely on abandoned structures such as the Lighthouse, old government buildings, and the former Italian Catholic Cathedral for survival has been putting significant pressure on the structures themselves, leading to an increase in the risk of collapse. Yesterday, that risk became reality, and we lost four invaluable souls as a result. The disaster has emphasized the need for proper maintenance and upkeep of Mogadishu’s cherished historic landmarks and the racking urgency of formulating solutions to the devastating displacement crisis.

More than a mere historical monument, this iconic lighthouse also represented hope to the people of Mogadishu. Its fall means tremendous grief and mourning for the departed souls and a potentially irreparable loss of the city’s cultural heritage. It is to illustrate the urgent need for all of us to come together as an international community to combat the displacement crisis, ensure the preservation of the city’s stunning architectural wonders, and, most importantly, support the brave, resilient people of Mogadishu.

There is still hope for the city, however. There are several organizations working tirelessly to help those affected by displacement and preserve the fading cultural heritage. We are deeply grateful for their dedication and diligence. However, there is a great deal more to be done. The international community must play a role in supporting these efforts and ensuring Mogadishu’s historical landmarks remain treasured monuments for future generations.

The tragic incident at the Lighthouse in Mogadishu is a clarion call – imploring the international community to rally around the beleaguered community of Mogadishu and support them as they battle against the odds. We must act with great urgency to address the displacement crisis and preserve the city’s precious cultural heritage.

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