Deaths from hunger in IDP camp raise questions over local aid delivery in Mogadishu

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Arbacoy Doojaal oo ninkeeda uu ka mid yahay dadka gaajada u dhintay/Munasar Maxamed/Ergo Photo | Arbaoy Dojal, whose husband died of hunger in Daryel IDP camp/Munasar Mohamed/Ergo

Radio Ergo 16 May, 2017 MUQDISHO


(ERGO) - Nine people, including four children, died of hunger last week in a sprawling camp for drought-displaced people south of the Somali capital Mogadishu, according to relatives and local officials.

Ismail Mohamed Noor lost his two-year-old daughter to starvation.  He told Radio Ergo’s local reporter, who visited the camp, that the family had not eaten anything for five days.

“She did not die due to illness. We just could not get any milk or food for her,” Ismail said.

All they had was water from a tap shared by the approximately 1,500 families currently living in Daryel, in Mogadishu’s Kahda district.

The death of people in this camp calls into question the efficiency of local aid distribution within Mogadishu.

The people living in Daryel camp fled the harsh drought that has brought Somalia to the verge of famine. They are farmers and pastoralists, mostly from areas controlled by Al-Shabab, where aid agencies have not been able to deliver any food.

The distribution of cooked food as well as food items like pasta, milk and nutrient-rich biscuits for children, stopped on 30 April, according to families in the camp and officials.

Arba’oy Dojal Ahmed, who joined the camp two months ago from Sablale in Lower Shabelle region, said her 52-year-old husband died of hunger on 12 May.

“He did not eat anything for two weeks. The small amount of food we sometimes used to get he would leave for me and the children,” Arba’oy told Radio Ergo.

She said they had come with their two children to Mogadishu to access humanitarian assistance. They had not been able to grow any food on their small farm due to the drought.

They sometimes went to Anoley camp, also in Kahda district, to get food distributed by a humanitarian organization that Arba’oy did not name.

Daryel, the biggest camp in the district, is managed by Banadir regional administration, which settled displaced people on the site and registered them.

In other camps in Kahda, local committees are collecting money and organising to cook food for distribution.

Mohamed Sheikh Hassan, who was appointed by the administration as Daryel chairman, told Radio Ergo people were suffering from hunger in the camp. He confirmed the deaths of a total of nine people, four of them children.

The head of the National Drought Response Committee, Sheikh Noor Barud Gurhan, told Radio Ergo they previously handed over $250,000 to Banadir administration to address the needs of those in Mogadishu affected by the drought. He noted that he was surprised to hear the news of people dying of hunger in the city.

Sheikh Noor Barud Gurhan pointed out that the National Drought Response Committee focused more on those in the regions outside the capital, leaving the regional administration to take care of those entering the city.

The camp chairman, Mohamed Sheikh Hassan, said that after they saw people dying of hunger, they started collecting money from residents and among themselves to cook small portions of food every morning to give to 50 worst off families.  But he said they could not continue this food distribution without proper funding.

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