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Harsh eviction for IDP mother in Garowe

Wednesday August 9, 2023

IDP family awaiting assistance in a camp/File photo/Ergo

Sahro Abukar Maday and her husband and seven children were forcibly evicted from their house in a camp for displaced people in Garowe on 12 July, just 10 days after she had given birth to her last baby.

“I had just given birth and I was bleeding when we were removed from the house, we were forced out,” Sahro, 37, told Radio Ergo’s local reporter.

“I have never seen something like this, people breaking your house if you don’t pay the rent money! I feel like the cold could kill my child, the wind shakes our hut where my little child sleeps.”

Sahro’s family had been living in a small iron-sheet house constructed by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Shabelle camp in Garowe, which was inhabited by 500 families. But the free 10-year lease agreement by the land owners expired in February, when the owners imposed a rent demand of $20 on each family.

Sahro has been in Garowe for the past 15 years since leaving her home in Qallafe in Somali Region, Ethiopia, following prolonged drought.

Her family was among 150 families evicted from the camp after being unable to pay the rent.

Sahro and her family are staying with Maryan Ali, another IDP mother of five, who is still living in her house in Shabelle camp as she can just manage to pay the rent. She walks three kilometres a day to find laundry jobs and cooks once a day alongside Sahro.

Maryan earns about three dollars a day. Since her husband divorced her two years ago, she supports her children alone. Still, she is willing to help Sahro’s family.

“We are in similar situations, we try to make a living, sometimes we wash clothes sometimes we get sweeping jobs, that is how we live. We need help,” Maryan said.

Sahro, meanwhile, is worried about getting milk for her children and feeding them adequately. Before having her last baby, she earned a small amount collecting garbage or washing clothes. Her husband is unemployed having lost his job as a porter offloading food from trucks.

Another camp dweller, Abdirashid Gabow Ali, 67, a father of 12, was also forcibly evicted. He and his family are now living with other families in Siligga camp in Garowe after their house in Shabelle camp was destroyed.

For a week he and his children had nowhere to sleep and camped in a mosque in the camp.

“We were living in this area under an agreement between the government and the land owners. As the agreed time for our stay lapsed the landowners started to demand rent money. Those who could pay the rent could stay, while others were removed,” said Abdirashid.

He has lived in the IDP camp for the past 10 years. He used to find jobs as a younger man earning $4-8 on construction sites, but nowadays is unemployed.

“There are no jobs, even the laundry jobs are scarce and there aren’t any garbage collection jobs, so people are just sitting around all day,” he said.

Abdirashid was also displaced from Qallafe in Ethiopia by drought and moved to Garowe 23 years ago.

Although these families are homeless, Garowe local council and NRC have been exploring sustainable solutions.

According to the head of social welfare for Garowe administration, Ahmed Hassan Aw-Muse, other land has been identified and houses are being constructed for these displaced families.

“They are content with the new location. We hope that it will be a sustainable solution for them. We hope they will get education, health, water, electricity, and security. They are people with skills and they can earn a living, they just need the social services,” he said.

Most of the families evicted from Shabelle camp are now living with other families and are hopeful that they will benefit soon from the new resettlement plans.


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