Human faces of Somalia’s crisis
MOGADISHU, Somalia – Dressed in red flowing garment from top-to-toe, Rahma Ibrahim, a 28-year-old mother fled with six children after her home town has seen deadly fighting between Somali army backed by African Union troops and Al Shabaab.
Ibrahim is among hundreds live in an internally displaced person’s camp (IDP) after fleeing in ongoing fighting in Gabirow, a small farming area near Qoryoley town, about120km southwest of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
While tears streaming down her cheeks, Ibrahim remembered she lost her right leg when a mortar shell landed in our house during the fighting a year ago.
“It was scary and chaos moment as I also lost my two brothers. We all stayed indoors until the situation calmed down and I was bleeding”, she explains.
She was taken into a hospital while her neighbors took care of her children during her treatment, shortly after collapsing an IDP camp near the capital, Mogadishu.
“I felt alone after my husband died when a building under construction collapsed.
“I know how it feels like having six children without a husband”, she said.
“We are facing challenges because of drought and fighting. The situation is also getting worse. I don’t know what feed the children”, she said.
A 30-year-old mother of six, Maho Sheikh Arbow living in the same camp has escaped the ongoing fighting in Marka, a coastal town lies some 91km southwest of the capital, Mogadishu.
Arbow says she lost her husband on August 22 due to prolonged illness, saying that she is always worried about where to get milk and nutritional food to feed her children.
“It hurts me when I see my children cry something to eat or drink while I don’t know where to find anything to give them”, she said a barely audible voice.
She says they are given food donated by neighbors around the IDP camp.
This is the reason why we are still living otherwise we would have been dead by now”, she added.
Rahma and Maho are calling on the neighboring residents around Mogadishu and international aid agencies help their camp where many of displaced people, including themselves lost their source of livelihood.
Somalia is experiencing a severe drought, resulting in crop failures and livestock die-offs, forcing thousands to flee their homes to seek refuge near the capital, Mogadishu.
The severe drought and long-running conflict between armed Al-Shabaab, a group affiliated with al Qaeda and government troops backed by African Union troops threatened the population with famine.
This has also made it more difficult to distribute relief supplies in drought-struck areas while some of the urban towns still controlling by Al Shabaab.
The group was pushed out of Mogadishu capital in 2011 by Somali army troops and 22,000-strong African Union force in Somalia.
The rebel group also lost most of their strongholds, but it still controls large rural areas and remains the key threat to peace in Somalia.