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Somalia - Infrastructure

There are no railways in Somalia; internal transportation is by truck and bus. The national road system is comprised of over 22,000 km of highways though only 2,600 of it is paved.

Air transportation is provided by small air charter firms and craft used by drug smugglers. There are a total of 62 airfields in Somalia, of which 5 are paved and have a length ranging from 2,500 to 3,000 meters. The other 57 runways are unpaved with lengths ranging from 900 to 3,000 meters. The UN and other NGOs operate air service for their missions.

There are no major waterways and four major ports including deepwater facilities at Berbera, Mogadishu, and Chisimayu; lighterage port at Merca; minor port at Maydh. A port modernization program launched in latter half of 1980s with United States aid significantly improved cargo handling capabilities at Chisimayu, and increased number of berths and deepened harbor at Berbera.

The European Community and the World Bank jointly financed construction of a deepwater port at Mogadishu. The Soviet Union improved Somalias deepwater port at Berbera in 1969. Facilities at Berbera were further improved by a U.S. military construction program completed in 1985, but they have since become dilapidated. During the 1990s the United States renovated a deepwater port at Kismayo that serves the fertile Juba River basin and is vital to Somalias banana export industry. Smaller ports are located at Merca, Brava, and Bossaso. Absence of security and lack of maintenance and improvement are major issues at most Somali ports.

Cellular phone service is readily available throughout the country, but landline communication systems have been destroyed or dismantled. Somalia is linked to the outside world via ship-to-shore communications (INMARSAT) as well as links to overseas satellite operators by private telecommunications operators (including cellular telephone systems) in major towns. Radio broadcasting stations operate at Mogadishu, Hargeisa, and Galkacyo, with programs in Somali and some other languages. There are two television broadcast stations in Mogadishu and one in Hargeisa.



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