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Sand dunes bury family homes on Somalia’s windy Mudug coast

Wednesday February 17, 2021

(ERGO) – Sadiyo Qasem Mohamoud and her family of five have been sleeping rough under a temporary shelter for the past two weeks after their home in the coastal village of Dhinowda in central Somalia’s Mudug region was buried by sand.

“I left our house with just my children and the utensils,” Sadiyo said.

They are among 300 families displaced by sand dunes that have been blown by strong seasonal winds across low-lying settlement areas.

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Sadiyo has moved to a higher spot five km from Dhinowda. Her two-room home and small grocery shop lie deep under the dunes. She has been feeding her family on the stocks she grabbed from the small grocery store she had that used to earn her a daily living of around three dollars.

“I built this temporary shelter, but it doesn’t protect us from the cold,” she told Radio Ergo. “We have been living without enough water for the past 10 days.”

The water wells in the area were also buried by the sand, which began drifting last November when the strong winds started. The roads to Galkayo, 265 km away, and to Bosaso far to the north have been cut off by sand, preventing the delivery of food supply trucks.

Sayid Hassan Abdullah has also put up a temporary shelter outside Dhinowda for his family of seven, but the flimsy structure is on the verge of collapse as the wind continues.

“There is intense cold at night, and we don’t live in a closed shelter. At night we wake up several times to cover the children and the elderly with blankets,” Sayid said.

Sayid received some rice, flour and sugar donated by other local residents on February 8, but his biggest problem is the lack of water.

Dhinowda village authorities said there were nearly 800 displaced families in the village, with more people likely to be forced to leave their homes as the winds gained strength.

Dhinowda social affairs commissioner, Abdirahin Ali Rooraye, told Radio Ergo that they collected food items from the residents to help the families, as they had nothing. He described how elderly people and children were finding it difficult to walk out of the village because they were being blown back by the force of the wind.


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