(ERGO) – Halimo Ali, a single mother of 10 children, are camping in the open despite the rain after their house in Garbolow neighbourhood of Dollow in southern Somalia’s Gedo region was destroyed by river floods.
All their belongings and food items were washed away by the flood water. They have migrated to higher ground although they have no shelter to protect them from the ongoing rainfall.
“We don’t have medicine, we don’t have food, bedding or cooking utensils. We get some utensils from the neighbours so that we can cook our food when we have some but we haven’t had food for 12 hours and we don’t have food to cook tomorrow,” she explained.
Halimo was running a grocery table that used to bring her $2-3 profit per day. She does not know where to turn to now that she has no income at all. She tried to get to Dollow town hoping to find some help there, but the attempted journey turned into another nightmare.
“Yesterday I was washed away in the floods and had to be rescued from the water. My shoes were carried away in the water. This morning I’ve been walking around barefoot,” she said.
“If we don’t eat how can we live! My small son doesn’t understand there is no food tonight. He calls me and follows behind me but I don’t have anything for him.”
Halimo said that they have been forgotten and appealed for humanitarian intervention.
Her family is among 480,000 families in Dollow, Luq, Bardera and other villages in Gedo who have been caught in severe flooding caused by El Nino downpours.
Another mother, Hawo Hassan and her six children were displaced from Bulo-Musley in Luq district after heavy rainfall led to flooding.
Her family has camped out with about 100 other families in Idale livestock market.
Three of her children have contracted eye infections which she suspects came from the unclean conditions and exposure to the livestock.
“The water has caused us grave suffering. We don’t have bedding, we don’t have utensils to cook food. My children are sick, we haven’t had any sleep for two nights because my children are sick,”Hawo explained.
Hawo and her family were already battling poverty as her husband earns a meagre income as a porter. Now her husband has no work at all as trucks and goods cannot enter Luq with the town encircled by water.
Hawo said they are in desperate need of aid as their situation is getting worse by the day.
“The flood water entered our house while we were asleep. Everyone started running away with the kids and we couldn’t grab anything else. We need clothes, food and medicine. We are in a dire situation and we need help,” she appealed.
Gedo’s deputy representative of social welfare, Ibrahim Madobe, said 10 people had died in the floods. Most of the people who have been displaced were pastoralist families who have lost earlier their livestock. Crops and farmland have also been destroyed.
“The water pumps and the vegetation have all been washed away, and the water levels continue to rise. The farmers are facing hardships. Until now we have not received any help. We have not had anything from the aid organisations, federal government, or Jubaland government,” he stated.
Ibrahim said there are some families who are still stranded in their houses and there is no way of reaching them, while some villages have been completely engulfed in the floods.
The local authority say they have begun preliminary assessments to understand the magnitude of the destruction caused by the floods, although they have no capacity to deal with the impact.
Major road bridges in Bardera, Luq and Burdhubo have collapsed due to the floods making access extremely challenging.