(ERGO) – For this report in Radio Ergo’s IDP camps series, our reporter spoke to displaced families in Baidoa, who are asking for support to return to their rural farms because they are getting no aid in the camps.
Nurto Talas Ali lives with her husband and three sons and two daughters in Abo-Doyow camp. The family came to Baidoa four years ago after losing their last 12 goats and nine cows to the drought in Misri village, Dinsor district.
“There is no food! We and the children sleep on empty stomachs,” she told Radio Ergo. “We have to get a better life than this one.”
Like many others in this camp, Nurto feels they are on the edge of survival, relying on the tiny income she makes doing laundry jobs in town twice a week. Her husband was doing casual jobs but is out of work. The family wants to return to the village to start farming again. However, they are unable to leave Baidoa without money for transport, and some support to invest in resuming their old livelihood.
“If we go back, we would like to be given a number of livestock to get milk for the children and also some food. We are suffering here in the town. The place I grew up in would be better than this place,” Nurto said.
Dozens of agro-pastoralist families living in this and other camps in Baidoa in South West state are calling for support to return to their villages, saying that the aid they had been depending on or expecting in the camps has stopped. Nurto told Radio Ergo she was once given plastic sheeting by aid agencies when they arrived years ago. But since then they have received no aid.
Bule Ibrahim Ahmed, the camp chairperson, said the camp has no toilets, let alone a health centre or school. The IDPs live in shanty houses and defecate in the open beyond the camp. There is no borehole in Abo-Doyow so families have to buy water at 3,000 Somali shillings for 20 litres from traders selling from donkey carts.
Ahmed believes the aid agencies have neglected them. He told Radio Ergo that 30 of the 96 families in the camp want to go back to their villages, but are caught in a vicious circle without any financial support even to make a move.
“Our main challenge is water. Women carry water on their backs and people have no food or health post. We need to get support,” he said.
Nadifo Adan Yusuf, another IDP and mother of four boys and two girls, said she wanted to plant her farm back in the village now that is was raining.
“At this time of year our farms would be a better option. We have nothing to do here, we want to restart farming in our villages,” she said.
Nadifo came to Baidoa six years ago, fleeing drought-hit Habal-Barbar village. Her relatives in Mogadishu send her an occasional $50, but with three children at Wajir School in Baidoa she is struggling to pay their $15 monthly fees and pay for other basic needs.
Ali Adan Adan came to Baidoa from Robey-gaduday four years ago, after drought killed his 35 goats and 15 cows.
“The families who came here before us encouraged us to come to Baidoa town,” he said. “We thought that there was a better life here than in our village but the reality was not that way.”
Baidoa assistant district commissioner, Abdikadir Ali Hassan, told Radio Ergo some IDPs had not received any aid for years. They regularly submit their complaints to the district office.
According to Abdikadir, the authorities are working on helping families wishing to return to the rural areas to revive their farming livelihoods.