(ERGO) – Asha Mohamed Abdi walked for two days from her rural village to the urban area of Gawaan in Somalia’s Mudug region, after 135 of her 150 goats died due to lack of water and fodder, to save her seven children from hunger.
On the 25 kilometre journey she received help from some fellow travellers, who transported two of her children and her belongings on a camel.
They moved into a room in Gawaan given to her by her uncle on 1 March, where she is trying to earn a few shillings doing laundry.
“I wash clothes and curtains for people, they give me a half kilogram of spaghetti, which is not enough to feed the children,” said Asha, whose husband is disabled and unable to work.
The family goes without food during the day and Asha cooks for them at night using whatever she earned or was given during the day.
“Two of my children fell sick for days due to weather change and the salty water we drink here,” Asha said.
Asha’s family is among 120 families, who lost their livestock due to lack of water, pasture and diseases, arriving in Gawaan since late February from the rural areas. They receive water trucked from Hobyo, about 30 km away, by the local administration. Many fear this water aid will not last as the water shortage in the area is so severe.
Shariff Ali Wehliye, the head of Gawaan administration, said they had set up a camp for those without any relatives in the area, whilst others were being sheltered by relatives. The administration distributed 10 kgs of sugar and 15 kgs of rice to 80 of the most vulnerable families, donated by local businessmen and the locally connected diaspora community.
The area depends on water storage tanks which are dry, and local people are already struggling.
“We need humanitarian assistance for the displaced who reached here. Gawaan area doesn’t have any wells although we need one!” said Shariff.
Ali Mohamed Farah, a father of eight, said he and a couple of other pastoralist families were transported by the Gawaan authorities in a vehicle, after calling for help.
Ali lost 270 of his 300 goats due to water and pasture shortage. His family are finding it very hard to get by in Gawaan.
“None of the shops will allow us to take food on credit. They ask for the money upfront,” said Ali.
Galmudug administration warned earlier this year that thousands of pastoralists were facing difficult conditions caused by water and pasture shortages. Pastoralists in Mudug depend on rainwater catchments and reservoirs, but in 2020 the area received poor rainfall.