It took Fatuma Abdi Ahmed four days to hike from Kunturwaareey district in Lower Shabelle region of the South West State of Somalia, to Mogadishu fleeing the ongoing drought which has affected thousands of families in Somalia. She fled with five children, after losing two to hunger.
The devastating drought sweeping through a large swathe of Somalia is displacing many residents, forcing them to abandon their homes to seek food and shelter in displacement camps.
“This drought that has displaced has killed two of my children, a five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son. Their deaths were seven days apart. We lost relatives and animals and we decided to leave,” says Ms. Fatuma.
In fact the drought has separated families, relatives and friends. It has been a month since Fatuma’s husband left the homestead to look for food and has never returned. Nobody knows whether he is dead or alive.
“My husband left us when we faced challenges because of drought. The situation got worse and he just walked away. We don’t know where he is,” she explains.
The prolonged drought has also impoverished many who depend on farming for their livelihood. Forty-year-old, Rahmo Warsame Issaq, for example, fled her home after losing her husband, livestock and crops to drought.
Issaq and her four children, relatives and friends walked for 11 days from Qoryooley to Mogadishu, losing six of their colleagues on the way. Luckily for Issaq and her children, they all arrived safely at Al-Adala camp on 25 March, albeit weak and emaciated.
The mother of four is particularly worried about the prolonged drought which she says has no signs of ending.
“The effect of the drought is still growing. The river has dried up as well as all other sources of water. Crops have been destroyed; even finding water for drinking is a challenge. We have been displaced by the drought. Some people died on the way to Mogadishu. Six people died recently, including my husband. They died because of the drought,” observes Ms. Issaq.
Issaq and Fatuma are not alone in the unending suffering caused by drought. Nearby, Ali Mohamed Waaq, 73, ponders what the future holds for him after losing his source of livelihood. He fled Dacaraale, in the outskirts of Qoryooleey town, in Lower Shabelle region, with his wife and four children (two girls and two sons) and has no plans leaving Al-Adala camp any time soon.
“We have been given food donated by well-wishers to Al-Adala camp managers.. It is the reason why we are still living otherwise we would have been dead by now,” Ali observes.
According to Sahra Ali Mohamud, the Camp Manager, Al-Adala camp holds more than 1114 families. In the recent past, the camp has absorbed an extra 295 families and more fleeing the harsh conditions in rural areas are expected to seek refuge here.
“These people have nothing and they are suffering. Vehicle owners at the Mogadishu seaport have donated food that we cooked for the IDPs. Some local residents have also donated sleeping mats and clothes which were distributed to the IDPs. We have cooked the last food donation and we don’t have anything to cook for lunch unless assistance is received,” Ms. Mohamud explains.
She is appealing to residents and international aid agencies to come to the rescue of the IDPs since many have lost their source of livelihood, adding that it will take a long time for them to recover from the loss.
The latest food security and nutrition analysis from the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) issued on 2 February 2017, revealed that the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance is expected to increase from 5 million in September 2016 to 6.2 million between February and June this year.