New housing improves living for IDPS and returnees in Kismayu

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The newly built houses in the city’s new estate in Midnimo neighbourhood / photo: Ahmed Toronto/ Radio Ergo.

(ERGO) -For the first time in decades, Abdi Ahmed Ali and his family are living in their own modern house in Kismayu thanks to a resettlement project in southern Somalia.

Abdi and the eight members of his family returned to Somalia from Kenya’s largest refugee camp Dadaab in 2017 ona voluntary repatriation process.

They are among 230 families–identified from among internally displaced, refugee returnees and other poor local families –to have been given a house in the city’s new estate in Midnimo neighbourhood.

Abdi spoke to Radio Ergo’s local reporters after he had been living in his house for 10 days. The family had been living in a one-room house in Dalhis neighbourhood, where the rent was $60 rent a month.

“I thank Almighty God, now we live in a decent house!” he said. “I am relieved of paying rent which I had even found hard to raise each month. My wife has passed away so me and my children share the house with my elderly father and my elder sister, and though it is small it can accommodate us all.”

Another of the new homeowners is Mohamed Abdi Mohamud, who returned with his family from Yemen after the civil war broke out in 2016. He had been paying $50 for a tiny rental in Farjanno neighbourhood.

The new houses, made of brick and roofed with iron sheets,measure 15 x 15 metres and have two bedrooms as well as a verandah area for multi-purpose use. The housing was constructed by three international aid agencies: Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), American Refugee Committee (ARC) and Care International.

There is still much to do to bring all necessary services and amenities to the estate. There are two wells but the water cannot be used for drinking due to salinity, meaning the locals are buying water from commercial water tankers.

Abdirahman Abdi Mohamedof NRC said the houses were designed to be more spacious than the 1,500 housesthat were built for similar communities in 2016. Having two bedrooms and a verandah was intended to give space for the occupants to set up small home businesses for a livelihood.

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