Friday April 28, 2023
FILE - People passing through flooded area in Dolow/Mohamud Abdirashid/Ergo
(ERGO) – Thousands of drought and conflict-displaced families living in camps in Luq and Dollow are sleeping without a roof over their heads, after their homes and belongings were washed away by flash floods striking southern Somalia’s Gedo region.
Ambiyo Mohamed Yarow and her four children joined Dinsor camp on the outskirts of Luq just four months earlier last December 2022, after losing their 93 goats to the long drought in their home area in Burdubo.
They hastily made another temporary shelter using tree branches and bits of cardboard and cloth but these too were ruined again by the rain and wind.
“We were living in makeshift houses [in the camp] that were swept away by the floods. Just the day before yesterday, our new shelters were battered down by strong winds,” she told Radio Ergo.
“Now we don’t have a house at all. We were in a hut that was in a bad condition and was swept away the day before yesterday.”
Ambiyo’s husband left her a year ago when they lost their livestock and he could no longer support them. Since then, she has been struggling to provide a living for her children and was not able to earn anything during the month of Ramadan.
“I normally wash clothes and return home during the night, so sometimes the children are neglected at home…we really have neglected our children. I didn’t always get a job and often came home without any income. I’d earn 30,000 (Somali shillings) for a job that barely covers the cost of sugar, you also need tea leaves and everything else, so you have to beg from other people,” she stated.
Another single mother, Khadijo Madey Ibrahim, and her seven children have moved to higher ground in Luq and are also sleeping in the open. They joined Masir camp near Luq in December after losing their herd of 180 goats to drought in Qansahdhere, Bay region.
In this month’s floods, they lost all their belongings including household utensils and bedding. She is borrowing utensils from other displaced families to cook whenever they get food from their neighbours.
“No plates, no pans, there is nothing left. The floods took away the utensils I use to cook for my children. I have nothing left. We are just sleeping on the ground,” she said.
With little food and poor nutrition for her children, Khadijo is worried they might not have the immunity to survive the rainfall and cold weather.
She used to earn a living for her family selling animal feed but that business dried up as the drought took a severe toll on the livestock that consumed the feed she sold.
The coordinator of Qurdubey camp in Dollow, Sulayman Maalin Ali, told Radio Ergo that they had conducted an assessment and found that hundreds of families are homeless as a result of the floods that destroyed and swept away their makeshift homes. Many other families are sharing their houses with those who lost their property.
He added that the families in this camp depend heavily on relief aid from the humanitarian organisations although they have not received any assistance since the floods hit.
“The rain had a great impact. The plastic shelters collapsed and were swept away by the river floods. People couldn’t even flee towards Dollow as access was cut off by the water. These people are facing hard times and lack of shelter. They also face health risks,” he said.