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Struggling IDP families move into new houses in Mogadishu camps

Sunday January 9, 2022

Maryan Hussein Farah, a single mother of eight children, was relieved to move into her own two-roomed house in October, after seven months of sleeping rough in Cosob IDP camp in Mogadishu’s Deynile district.

When it rained, they used to leave their pitiful hut made of sticks and scraps of cloth to sleep with others in a roofed communal centre in the camp, which never felt safe.

“I couldn’t sleep the whole night as I used to watch over my girls, fearing that they would be abused by someone. In the mornings, I used to go to work feeling sleepy. This is a lot better than the hut,” she said.

As well as the house that is walled and roofed with plastic sheeting and has a sturdy door, she was given mats, blankets, and cooking pots under a housing project.

However, Maryan is still struggling to provide three decent meals for her family. She cooks once in the evening for her children, with the couple of dollars she gets from laundry jobs. On lucky days, she might come back with four dollars.

“We cook sorghum or wheat, or sometimes rice. The little food we cook is not enough for the children, they fight over it. Some of them even get angry,” she said.

After fleeing drought in her native Burhakaba in southern Somalia’s Bay region in 2019, she came to Mogadishu where she stayed first in a settlement camp until being evicted by the landowners.

Whilst life in Cosob now seems more bearable with the roof over their heads, Maryan has little to offer her children. She shares a pair of shoes with four of them, as she cannot afford to buy shoes for them all.

Another displaced woman in the camp, Fadumo Mohamed Ali, was pleased to move into her new house with the three young grandchildren she is raising. Fadumo’s daughter died in November after losing blood during a complicated childbirth at night with no medical help available.

“It was eight in the evening, when she fell into labour. I didn’t have money to rent a car and rush her to the hospital in Banadir. She died in front of me helplessly, and to date I don’t have any money to support her children. I don’t have a job,” she said.

Fadumo depends on handouts from her neighbours in the camp, as she has no regular income.

The housing initiative led by local NGO, HINNA, has also helped families in Yanyo IDP camp in Deynile, where a third of the 300 families living there were sharing shelters with other families.

Hamsa Hussein Ahmed, a mother of 10 children, was sharing a small hut with her married daughter in Yanyo. She told Radio Ergo that the two-roomed house she was given was the first home of her own since she fled Buloburte and became displaced nine years ago.

“We used to sleep with our children in a congested hut. We have men over the age of 20 who had to sleep outside in the open. We feel relieved now that I am living on my own,” she said.

The director of HINNA, Abukar Mohamed, said they chose the most vulnerable families who had no shelter and could not afford to build one for themselves. So far they have built 885 homes in various camps in Deynile and Kahda districts, including 250 houses in Cosob and 100 in Yanyo.

The building started last October and is expected to end in February 2022. The $600,000 project is funded by the Somalia Humanitarian Fund. It is expected that 1,570 families will be housed by the end of this project.


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