At least 400 families who fled from their homes in Bardere have joined hundreds of already displaced people living in Gedo region’s Elwak district. The displaced families, mainly women and children, fled from the region’s largest district before Somali and African troops seized Bardere from Al-Shabaab.
They are yet to receive any humanitarian support such as shelter and resettlement, according to Rodo Adan Ali, a mother of eight children, who is among the displaced families. “We live under trees and don’t get any food relief – even milk for our children,” she said.
A week prior to her displacement, Rodo said she was a farmer who resided in her own house. Today she can’t get food and shelter for her children. The IDPs’ situation is worsened by an outbreak of waterborne diseases such as diarrhoeal which several children are suffering from. The outbreak is due to drinking and using contaminated water, but the area doesn’t have any health facility, said Adan Mohamed Abdullahi, a civil society activist in Elwaq. He added that families from Bardere used to get fresh water from the River Juba unlike water available in Elwak which is salty and unclean.
The displaced families moved to Elwaq are mostly professionals who use to work as farmers, vegetable vendors and water fetchers to support families. But Shine Mohamud Nur who has been living in the IDPs camps in Elwaq in the past couple of years said these skills have no market in the Somalia-Ethiopia-Kenya border town.
Shine said these people will hardly get jobs in the town, thus making them more vulnerable to rely on humanitarian aid.