(ERGO) – Thousands of internally displaced families in Kabasa and Qansaxley camps in Dollow, southern Somalia’s Gedo region, have been struggling to make ends for a year, since aid and jobs shrank as a result of the COVID19 pandemic.
Madey Hussein and his family of seven have lived in Kabasa camp since 2014 and are now living on $25 they receive from a relative, which buys five kgs each of rice, sugar, flour and three litres of cooking oil – enough for them to cook just one meal a day.
Madey’s family used to receive $60 from aid agencies in Gedo and he also earned six dollars a day on construction sites. But all their income stopped at once in June 2020, as COVID19 paralysed the economy of the region.
“We are living in a dire situation in this camp and help is taking time to reach us. Every time we are being told that aid is on its way, and there are no jobs now due to COVID19,” he complained.
Madey’s wife Mumino started collecting grass from farms on the riverbanks to sell in the market, making about a dollar a day. But delayed rainfall meant there was little vegetation growing and the farm owners told her and other women collecting grass to stop in February.
She took a domestic cleaning job in a house in Dollow, but when the second wave of COVID19 reached the area her cautious employer suspended Mumino’s services.
“We are all sitting at home, no one goes out of the camp in search of a job anymore. We are in need, and we appeal for urgent aid,” Mumino said.
Dollow district’s head of social affairs, Ismael Abdullahi Dahir, expressed concern over the hardships facing the IDP families. He said the administration has been providing food and water collected from local businesses to about 40 of the families.
“Those in need are many and as the authority, there is only so much we can do for them at the moment. Every day we distribute the little we collect from the businesspeople,” he said.
Fatma Osman Ali, an internally displaced widow, lost her cleaning job to COVID19 five months ago. She told Radio Ergo she cooks one meal at night for her 11 children after getting food from her neighbours.
“We used to cook three meals a day, but now it is different. I don’t have an elder son who can provide for the family,” she said.