Death of a donkey leaves disabled Somali teenager stranded in remote drought-hit village

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Aadan Barre oo ka mid ah naafada lagu soo ururiyay deegaanka Wadhake ee gobolka Sool/Faarax Dubbad/Ergo Photo | Aden Barre, another disabled person rescued from Wadake area in Sool/Farah Dubbad/Ergo

Radio Ergo 03 February, 2017 SOOL


(ERGO) - When his donkey died in the drought, Mohamed Osman Ali, 19, knew that being disabled meant he would not be able to join the rest of the family on a long trek across the hot, arid terrain in search of pasture and water for their remaining goats.

After losing 490 goats in the past three months, his mother decided to leave Mohamed behind in Jibdale village in northern Somalia’s Sool region with the three youngest children while she set off eastwards with her 12-year-old son and their last 110 goats to parts of Bari region that had received some rainfall.

“The donkey was like my legs. His loss had a great impact on my life,” said Mohamed.

A local drought response committee vehicle rescued Mohamed and his three siblings ages six, seven and eight from their remote village, 85 km north of Lasanod, where they were stranded without food or water.

They were brought to El Awer, 43 km from Lasanod, where there are around 350 other pastoralist families who have been brought or made their own way from drought-stricken areas seeking help.

El Awer has a well where people can fetch water free of charge.

“Now if I want to get some water to drink from the well there is nothing I can use to get there,” said Mohamed, who misses the independence he had with his donkey.

“Out of the three meal times, we get one meal a day from our neighbours who go to town and around other areas [asking for assistance] and give us something from whatever they may get,” he said.

The drought committee that brought them to El Awer village has distributed food aid once. The committee says the contributions they collect from better off families are not enough to cover the needs of all of the drought-affected people scattered across 20 villages in this area.

Mohamed has been disabled since the age of four, when he remembers suffering a lot of pain in his legs and then not being able to use them. He never knew what illness he had suffered from. He believes that his mother left him behind with the younger ones so that they could look after him. They are living together in El Awer in a small hut made of sticks, old clothes and plastic bags.

What worries him now, however, is how his mother and brother will ever find him again since they have moved away from Jidbale village where they left him.

Apart from Mohamed, there are a number of disabled and blind people in the village who were left behind in remote rural areas by their families fleeing the drought.

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