(ERGO) – Naimo Aidurus Jama was so happy to have a firm roof over her head for the first time in three years that the humble house her family was given in their Mogadishu IDP camp felt grander than it looks.
“We were sleeping rough before, but today we are waking up in our home! It is made of wood and we locals know it as filibiin,” said Naimo, a widow, who had been sheltering with her children under a piece of cloth stretched across stick posts.
Naimo was among 290 of the most destitute families living in Awballe camp in Kahda district of Banadir to be given a new house by local organisation HINNA.
Her husband, the family breadwinner, was killed in the deadly suicide truck bombing at Ex-control Afgoye in December 2019. Her mother and youngest brother both died in the Shabelle river floods in Beledweyne in 2018.
Naimo was working as a cleaner to support her five children, but has been forced to stay at home for the past month due to the new spike in COVID19 cases in Somalia.
“I have no customers now since everyone is fearing the new wave of the pandemic,” she said. “I haven’t cooked for my children since yesterday. I accumulated $200 in debts, the shops are asking for their money and I have no one to support me.”
Two of her children were sent home from their Koranic school after she failed to pay their fees for three months. All her children are now at home because she cannot afford any education.
Another family glad to get shelter from HINNA was Mumino Hassan Abdi, who had been living under a tree for nine months with her eight children.
“I slept under this tree with my children for some time but now we feel like we are living in an apartment,” said an excited Mumino, who fled from Barire in Lower Shabelle where their small farm was first invaded by locusts and then washed away by floods.
Farhiya Hassan Omar, a mother of eight children, also felt relieved to move out of the cramped house of another camp family, where the children and two grandparents lived for two months.
“It was tough at night, my elderly dad used to sleep in the room that was given to us by the host family since he can’t withstand the cold. The rest of us slept outside. But now we thank God,” said Farhiya.
HINNA Director, Abukar Mohamed Jimale, said the organisation provided new houses for 566 families in Awballe and other camps in Kahda district. The houses were constructed of wood, plastic, and cloth. The families also received cooking utensils, blankets and small solar panels.
Those selected were recent arrivals, old residents who were sleeping rough, and those living with host families. They included families with disabled members, many children, and elderly dependents.
Recent estimates put the total number of displaced in Mogadishu at 500,000 families living in 700 camps spread across the city.