(ERGO) – Abdi Mohamed Hassan, his wife and six children have been sleeping rough in Lasgamey, southern Mudug, since their house was destroyed by an explosion in September 2023.
They have tied pieces of plastic over a tree as a shelter, although strong winds make it an uncomfortable resting place.
“We live under the tree. We are faced with cold and rain,” he said. “We used to have a house and now we don’t.”
They have very little food to eat. Abdi has debts of $700 for goods he already bought on credit from a local store and has been barred from taking any more until he settles.
The car bomb attack on the morning of 15 September in Lasgamey, a village in Badweyn district 18 km from Wisil, is presumed to have been targeting the government officials led by the Galmudug regional state president, who were gathered there for a planning meeting as part of the offensive against Al-Shabab.
The Galmudug government said 15 people died in the blast and around 100 houses were destroyed.
Those left homeless, like Abdi’s family, were expecting some support from the Galmudug government and aid organisations, but they have not received any aid and appear to have been forgotten.
Luckily Abdi brought their seven remaining goats with them so the children at least have milk despite the lack of food.
“We don’t have the finances to construct a new house. We don’t have the money,” he stated.
The blast also destroyed the primary and middle school in the area, where three of his children were studying. Lessons are now being held outside under a tree.
During the prolonged drought of 2020, Abdi lost 150 goats and the family migrated to Lasgamey from the rural areas. He sold off his last camels for $8,000 and bought their new house in the village, which now lies in ruins.
Also victims of the blast were Abdullahi Mohamud and his wife and four children, who are living in a makeshift shack made of sticks wrapped in pieces of cloth. They lost their $4,000 house and have no money to rebuild it.
Abdi is worried about his children sleeping out in the cold.
“We are in the dry season. It is very cold at night and there is sunshine during the day. It is also windy,” he said.
Abdullahi said he has been unable to find any work and has to stay with the children as his disabled wife lacks the use of her leg and hand. They asked some local families to allow them to camp in their compound but none accepted.
They recently received 12 kilograms of food including flour, rice and sugar from their relatives in Lasgamey. Since the blast they have had to rely on other families helping out.
“The biggest challenge we are facing is housing. We are impoverished and like most of the families we don’t even have water. Some people have water but most are facing water shortage. There is no health centre or school, they were all destroyed in the explosion,” he said.
The commissioner of Lasgamey, Hussein Diriye Hersi, told Radio Ergo they had shared reports about the humanitarian impact of the explosion with the Galmudug state government.
“The government has promised to reconstruct some houses and roads so that the people can continue living in the area. We have assessed the area and identified the most vulnerable people. We have just got rainfall now to improve our situation but we are waiting for aid and we have taken what measures we can to improve the situation of the people,” he said.
Hussein said 150 families affected are sleeping in the open. His noted that his administration does not have the capacity to rebuild their houses. The people also felt vulnerable to attacks by Al-Shabab militia who have been in Lasgamey for almost a year.