(ERGO) – Heavy rains have cut off the southern Somali town of Afmadow, in Lower Juba region, leading to a shortage of food and a drastic rise in prices.
The roads from Afmadow to the port city of Kismayo and the border town of Dhobley have become impassable following heavy rains in the last three weeks. The poor roads and lack of supplies have resulted in prices of cereals and vegetables shooting up again.
Ali Ahmed Osman told Radio Ergo the situation was getting out of hand as locals cannot afford to get a meal owing to high prices. high prices meant on his average daily income of Somali shilling 90,000 ($3.5) he could not afford to buy enough food for his family.
“One kilo of rice which used to cost 16,000 Somali shilling is now 24,000 and that is difficult for us to buy,” he said.
“The situation is becoming worse, we have nothing to eat, transport has been affected, nothing comes in or out,” he said.
Over 25 trucks transporting commercial goods are stuck along the roads from Kismayo, 110 kms away to the south east, according to Deq Hassan Hussein, a local trader in Afmadow.
“We usually get supplies from Kismayo but for the last 25 days no goods have come to this town and this has led the traders to increase the prices of the goods they have in their stores,” he said.
The prices of 50 kgs of sugar, rice and flour in Afmadow markets cost $45, $37 and $39 respectively.
Transport fares have doubled for people travelling to Dhobley, a town some 90 kms west of Afmadow on the Kenyan border. Ahmed Osman Hussein, local resident, said the fare from Afmadow to Dhobley had risen from $30 to $80. Only a few four-wheel drive vehicles are attempting the journey, at a price.
“I wanted to travel to Dhobley but I could not afford it because of the fare, any vehicle traveling to this town to Dhobley takes many days so the cost has gone up. I had to decide to wait until the roads become passable,” he said.
Hassan Ahmed Sahid, chairperson of the local association of public transporters, told Radio Ergo that about 20 vehicles normally travel from Kismayo to Afmadow and Dhobley. At least 15 vehicles have been bogged down on the way for more than a week.
“A vehicle that left Dhobley last Friday [18 October] only arrived this morning [Tuesday 22 October] and that is what has forced us to increase the fare. We know this has seriously affected the sick people who need to seek help from Kismayo town,” he said.