Families arrive in Mogadishu after fleeing drought in southern Somalia’s lower Shabelle region

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(ERGO) – Hundreds of families who have left villages in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region in the past two weeks because of drought are camping on the outskirts of Mogadishu without access to any services.

The assistant chief of Garasbaley, Abdullahi Abdi Mohamud, told Radio Ergo that people had been arriving in the area, around 13 km south of Mogadishu since late last year but the last few days had brought a big influx.

He said 460 families were sleeping outside without any shelter as there is no established camp in the area, leaving families especially children and the elderly to face exposure and disease.

“As an administration, we are trying to help these families with what we can but the situation is unbearable since there are no shelters,” said Mohamud.

The administration distributed five bags of rice and 10 bags of rice to the families.

Halimo Mohamed Ahmed, a mother of four, told Radio Ergo she had spent five nights outside with her children in an open area after they fled Deymay village in Kurtunwaray district because of severe drought.

She said five hectares of cereals they had planted had shriveled up because there was no water for irrigation, so she had been forced to move with the children in search of a different livelihood in the urban area.

Halima, who separated from her husband a year ago, said over 200 families from her village have moved to Mogadishu.

“We had nothing, so we had to seek help in the big towns. I did not have bus fare but a sister of mine in a camp in Mogadishu assisted me with some money to move with my children,” said Halimo. “However, when we arrived here, we did not get any support. We did not eat this morning.”

Meanwhile, Faduma Abdikadir arrived at the end of January in Alifu camp in Tredishe village outside Mogadishu after leaving Sablale district in Lower Shabelle.

She had been a pastoralist for years and ventured into farming as well to support the family. But the drought came again.

“I lost all my livestock to the drought. When the last 10 cows and 10 goats died, I decided to move away from home to look for support in the urban areas,”Faduma told Radio Ergo.

Faduma says there are 300 families in Alifu camp where she has settled. She is struggling to earn a living to support the family.

“I go out to do some odd jobs, but the challenge is that sometimes you may not be paid immediately. Some people tell you to come another day for your wages,” lamented Faduma.

The villages from which the families are fleeing are under Al-Shabab control.

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