(ERGO) – Hassan Mohamed Yusuf, 25, was supporting his mother and four younger sisters on his $150 a month earnings as a tuk-tuk taxi driver in the Somali capital Mogadishu, until a rise in fuel prices forced him to abandon his job.
As the eldest in the family, he was earning enough to buy food, pay the family’s house rent, and the $40 a month in school fees for his sisters.
But a fuel price hike in March meant that despite working longer hours he could not make a profit. The family had to move back to the same internal displacement camp that they had left a year earlier.
“We used to buy a litre of fuel for half a dollar but now it is selling at one and half dollars,” Hassan said.
“I paid $10 out of my daily earnings to the tuk-tuk owner as rent. Sometimes we had to use a longer route passing through the villages as the city streets are closed off by the government for security reasons and so the tuk-tuk consumes a lot of fuel.”
The family is now depending again on his 56-year-old mother washing clothes for households in the city. She had stopped working when he started the tuk-tuk job in 2019 and only makes at most 100,000 Somali shillings ($4) on days when she finds a job.
In July, they had to move back to Dayax IDP camp after failing to pay the $25 rent on their house in the city. His sisters have dropped out of school and Hassan is looking for any work he can find.
“The children’s education came to a standstill the day I stopped working when I returned the tuk-tuk taxi to its owner. I was the only person they relied on, who always thought about their education,” Hassan said sadly.
Hassan’s family first settled in Dayax camp when they were displaced from their home in Afgoye by the flooding of the river Shabelle in 2019. He and his mother had been working on a relative’s farm since Hassan’s father died in 2017, but the farm was washed away by the floods.
“We moved out of the IDP camp when I started driving the tuk-tuk in 2019 as the money I earned was enough to pay the family bills. When I started the job, I was hoping to buy my own tuk-tuk taxi in the future,” he said.
According to Hassan, petrol stations in Mogadishu told him and other youth who complained about the price hike that it was caused by the bombing of Saudi oil facilities by the Yemeni Houthi rebels and the impact of COVID19 restrictions.