(ERGO) – Halimo Ali Saeed has learnt to live minimally, buying food for her family of 10 for the first three weeks of each month with $80 sent by relatives, then surviving on handouts from her better-off neighbours for the last days.
Life has been hard since they moved to Hafun town, after losing their wealth and assets in cyclone Gati when it struck the north-eastern coast of Somalia last November.
“We haven’t received any aid since the cyclone disaster. Our needs are many, we lack even the essentials,” she said. “We welcome anyone who would be willing to help us.”
Halimo lost 180 of the 200 goats she used to herd for a living in the rural areas of Hafun. The only way to survive was to move the family and the last 20 goats to Hafun town, where she put up a hut for them to live in.
Many people in this coastal town have been impoverished by the cyclone disaster and feel abandoned by those expected to help them get back on their feet.
Ahmed Gure Liban lost his fishing boat, which was the only source of income for his family. He has been forced to sit idle at home. He told Radio Ergo’s local correspondent that the affected fishermen have repeatedly asked for assistance from aid organisations and the local government but have not hear anything.
“All we need is fishing equipment so that we get back to work and earn a living for our families!” he pleaded.
Some of the affected families in the area received some food and cash support after the disaster. Shukri Abshir Abdi said she received $100 from Somali Red Crescent in January.
“We received that money, but it was too little to cover our needs,” she complained.
Shukri and her family of four lived off her small restaurant selling tea, fish and flatbread. The cyclone destroyed her house and the restaurant. She has been living with her children on the ruins of the house under a plastic bag covering.
“Everything is money, we couldn’t even use the money we received to repair our home as the repairmen ask between $70 and $100.”
The commissioner of Hafun, Mohamoud Yusuf Garow, told Radio Ergo that Puntland administration and aid agencies had jointly assessed the damage and minimum aid was given to some of the affected families in the days following the cyclone. However, he urged more help for families pushed into poverty and living in miserable conditions.
“We would like the affected families to have their homes rebuilt and to be helped to start their businesses again,” said Mohamoud.
The commissioner said he had asked Puntland administration to send in tractors to help them clear the only gateway road to Hafun, which was cut off by the destructive cyclone. As the Gu’ rains have begun, there are fears of further flooding.
“As the residents, we have decided to clear the road ourselves. All we are asking is help from good-willed people and our local government so that we can speed up the clearance of the road,” he said.