IDPs washed out by rain and floods struggle for food, shelter in Somalia’s Bakool region

Sunday May 9, 2021

File Photo/Ergo

Habibo Mohamed Duwane’s family has been sleeping under a tree for the past two weeks after their flimsy hut in Gargaar internal displacement camp in El Barde, in southern Somalia’s Bakool region, collapsed in heavy rain.

“The whole hut came down after it rained from 9pm to 4 am in the morning. We are in great hardship and we haven’t managed to get a place to shelter from the rain,” said Habibo.

Habibo, whose husband is jobless, earns about a dollar a day from the sale of firewood, which she collects and carries on her back from the forest. She manages to cook once a day for the six children.

They have lived in the camp for four years since losing all their 75 goats in the drought in 2016-2017 in their village of Kahan Dhuure, 50 km away from El Barde.

The Gu’ rainfall has badly affected 245 of the 500 IDP families living in three camps, two of which are on the outskirts of El Barde.

Hasno Mohamoud Dhalow, a widowed mother of seven in Bananay IDP camp, 10 km from El Barde, told Radio Ergo she has been sheltering under a tree after flooding washed away their shelter and belongings.

“Our cooking pots and cups were washed away by the floods, we only managed to salvage the rugs which were soaked. But they were also washed away after we placed them out in the sun to dry,” she said.

Hasno has been buying food on credit from local shops for the past year. The shops stopped giving her credit in February after she accumulated $623 in debt. She now begs food from the market to feed her  children.

“Some of the shop owners have forgiven me the debt, but they said they won’t give me any more credit. But there are those who are asking for their money daily,” she said.

Hasno migrated from the rural area of Beledweyne in Hiran region after their farm dried up due to the severe drought of 2011-2012, which destroyed the livelihoods of many farmers in the country.

Ali Mohamed Abdi, the chairman of Gargaar IDP camp, informed Radio Ergo that 145 families have been left without shelter by the floods.

“We ask well-wishers to assist these families with food, tents to shelter and even utensils,” he said.

He noted that the IDP families depended on humanitarian aid, but since the outbreak of COVID19 no assistance has been provided to the destitute families.