Child drowns as heavy rains fall in drought-stricken Somali town of Baidoa

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Muslimo Ibraahim oo aqalkeeda cusub ugu warramaysa Radio Ergo/Muxyadiin Xusni/Ergo Photo | Muslimo Ibrahim whose daughter drowned in an IDP camp in Baidoa/Muhyadin Hosni/Ergo

Radio Ergo 04 May, 2017 BAYDHABO

 

(ERGO) - After four days of heavy rain, her two small children were feeling so cold that Muslimo Ibrahim Ma’alim, 22, decided to go outside to find some firewood to cook and warm them up.

Muslimo returned some time later to the drought displacement camp in the southern Somali town of Baidoa to find that her two-year-old daughter had drowned in deep pools of water that had accumulated in the downpour.

Their hut made of sticks and plastic bags had been erected on low lying ground, parched from the drought, and the heavy rain caused rapid flooding. Their hut and belongings inside were destroyed or washed away.

“I came home to find my daughter lying in pools of water and her body was swollen. We tried to push her stomach to get the water out of her but she could not move,” Muslimo told Radio Ergo’s reporter.

Other people in Mogor and Mayow IDP camp, on the outskirts of Baidoa, helped Muslimo to put up another hut to shelter in with her three-year-old son. The only item they have in the house is a sleeping mat they share.

“I am still worried about the rain that keeps pouring down as it might destroy this new shelter as well,” she said.

Muslimo’s tragedy represents the experience of many displaced people across Somalia fleeing drought-induced food and water shortages only to find the much awaited rain brings another disaster.

She left Tigow village, 40 km from Qansahdere in Bay, with her two small children three months ago, after the family could no longer eke out a living on their dried up farm. Her husband stayed behind, however, to look after the house and property.

The general director at the ministry of resettlement in South West regional state, Liban Sheikh Shueyb, told Radio Ergo that two children were killed in floods and around 150 families in six IDP camps in Baidoa were left homeless after their shelters were destroyed in the rains.

Those affected are families displaced from various parts of Bay region due to the drought.

Local people have come to the assistance of some of those who lost their homes. Mohamud Abdullahi Kerow, 43, and his wife and five children have been sleeping in a house owned by a local family for the past three nights. Mohamud told Radio Ergo’s local reporter in Baidoa he is aware of the burden that is causing to their hosts and he is planning to rebuild his makeshift house in Liban 1 camp when the rain stops.

He came to Baidoa a month ago after losing 33 cows and goats. He sold his last two animals and used the money to pay for transport from Misir village, 56 km from Dinsor, to Baidoa. He has no work so his family has to share meals with the host family or rely on occasional help from people he knows in town.

Up to 100 mm of rain fell in some parts of Bay region this week, according to Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM), a project of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.

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