(ERGO) – Fadumo Mohamed Gelle and her husband Ali Hussein, both blind, elderly, and displaced, have been forced to beg in the streets of the central Somali town of Abudwaq, after losing their lifeline support that used to be sent by a relative abroad.
The couple depended on $100 sent monthly by their nephew, the son of Ali’s brother, who was working in Kenya until April 2020, when he was laid off due to COVID19 and could no longer send money.
“We get between $1-$3 on good days, which we use to buy milk and sugar that we feed on for that day. Other times when we are sick, we stay home,” said Fadumo, who is guided by her grandson when she goes out.
The couple lives in Salaam IDP camp, on the outskirts of Abudwaq in Galgadud region. They are also worried about the seasonal rains that are expected to start in April, as they are living in a flimsy hut made of grass that cannot withstand the rain.
As many as 750 families in Salaam camp are facing food and water shortages, with 150 of them dependent on small remittances and donations from charity organisations, as well as local casual labour jobs, that have disappeared as a result of the pandemic.
Sahra Abdi Samatar, a mother of eight, depended on $150 a month sent by her brother-in-law in the United States to support her family. But for the past seven months he has not sent anything.
As she gets nothing in the camp, she now survives on dry food she begs from the shops in Abudwaq town.
“We survive on one meal a day. Before, we used to cook three times, but since we stopped getting the money, we only make tea during the day and cook at night,” said Sahra, whose husband suffers from a mental health illness.
Sahra’s brother-in-law and benefactor was a taxi driver in the US, where his work stopped following the upsurge of the COVID19 outbreak there.
Sahra said that COVID19 had disrupted the livelihood of her family and if their current situation persisted their lives would be miserable.
“A relative has given me 10kgs of rice and sugar. We will eke that out until we get more food,” she said.
Those living in the camp who relied on small jobs have also suffered as COVID19 has resurged in Somalia.
Abdi Mohamed Dahir earned a living washing cars, but since the new wave of the virus was reported in Somalia his business had dried up.
“Car owners parked their cars at a specific spot where we washed them but now there are no cars. Everyone washes their car at home for fear of COVID19,” said Abdi.
The chairman of Salaam camp, Indiriis Adan Abdulle, told Radio Ergo that he had formed a committee of 11 people, who are going round the camp helping needy families by providing them with cooked food contributed by others in a better situation.
He said organisations had issued aid cards but no food or cash or other assistance had been received for eight months.