(ERGO) – Hawo Nur Mohamed, a widowed mother of eight, was glad to build her family a hut using sticks and plastic sheets on the plot of land given to them by the local business community, enabling them at least to have a space of their own in the crowded IDP camp in Mogadishu.
She was among 300 families recently displaced by clan conflict in Lower Shabelle region to Qulqul camp, Deynile district, now occupying land rented for them for five years by a group of local businessmen for $3,000.
“They rented this land for us when they saw how we were suffering with our host IDP families. The commissioner played a vital role and asked the donors for the assistance on our behalf,” Hawo said.
Hawo was displaced from Balladul-Amiin village in Wanlaweyn, Lower Shabelle, in February. She used to provide for her family from the maize, sorghum and sesame she grew on her small farm. In Qulqul, however, they had been forced to share a shelter with another family already living in the camp.
She is grateful for the plot but still has challenges getting food, water, utensils and even access to a toilet. She washes clothes for clients making two to three dollars a day that allows her to cook just one meal for her children.
Abdiyo Hussein Ali also built her own shelter on the land she was allocated, after losing her livestock and farm in conflict in Lower Shabelle in March and being forced to flee to Mogadishu to seek a better life.
“We are satisfied with this free land we were given. It is better to live hungry in your house than being a burden on another family,” she said.
Abdiyo and her family lived on the produce of their farm and livestock. But now her family survives on one cooked meal they receive from the camp management.
“We lived a simple life in the rural area. We never thought of life in the city, but here we are now, circumstances have forced us to adapt,” she said.
Mohamed Siido Ibrahim was appointed by the businessmen to distribute plots on the site they have rented to the most vulnerable families.
“We pray God to reward those who leased this land to the IDPs. They promised the residents won’t be evicted for the next five years. But this camp lacks toilets and we don’t know what to do about it. These people are living in hardship,” he said.
Some families are unable to buy the simple items needed to erect a shelter. Fadumo Adan Ali said she is happy to get a plot but cannot move onto it yet as she cannot build a hut.
“Our biggest challenge now is shelter. Ten sticks go for one dollar here and we don’t have that money,” she said.
Fadumo and her family of 12 fled to Mogadishu on 4 May. She feeds the family by begging in the streets, as she is new to the city and has not found work.
She said she is waiting for assistance promised by the camp management to those families unable to build a shelter.