Families near Kismayo displaced by destructive winds, seeking assistance

Families Near Kismayo Displaced By Destructive Winds, Seeking Assistance

Thursday August 24, 2023

Amina Isaq and her nine children have been sleeping outdoors since July 22nd due to the destruction of their house caused by strong ocean winds in Luglow village, located in Somalia’s Lower Juba region.

As the relentless winds persist, Amina worries about the impact of the constant dust on her newborn baby, who is less than two months old.

“There is a fierce wind that resembles a hurricane,” she expressed to Radio Ergo. “It carries red soil, making it impossible for me and my children to even see one another. Our previous house, constructed with wood and plastic sheets, was not very sturdy, and it collapsed. We are now homeless. The day it collapsed was the worst day. I had just given birth and was unable to do much, let alone build a new house. Now, we are left with no choice but to live outside.”

Amina’s house was among the 700 homes built by the UNHCR in January at the El-Jalle IDP camps in Luglow, 25 kilometers outside Kismayo. According to local authorities, all of these houses were demolished by powerful winds.

Two of Amina’s children have been diagnosed with bronchitis, and she frequently visits a health center in Goobweyn for medication. However, the doctors’ advice to shield the children from the cold is impossible to follow when they are living outdoors.

“The two youngest children are the most affected, particularly the second youngest, who is only a year and seven months old. Yesterday, I took them to Goobweyn, and I had already taken them there a few days ago. Unfortunately, there is no healthcare available in this area,” she shared.

The family is also struggling with food shortages, and Amina is unsure why the WFP discontinued their distribution of 25 kilograms of flour, rice, sugar, and cooking oil that they used to receive.

In early 2020, they arrived in Luglow from Jilib after experiencing crop failure on their 10-hectare farmland due to drought. Amina’s husband moved to Kismayo in search of work, leaving her to borrow food from local stores and occasionally resort to begging in order to feed her children.

The Luglow camps accommodate approximately 9,000 displaced families, many of whom have lost their homes due to the fierce winds originating from the ocean, located seven kilometers away.

Saynab Mahad Mumin repeatedly tried to salvage their flimsy shack made of plastic sheets, cardboard, and cloth in the camp, but it kept getting blown away. Eventually, she gave up, and for the past two weeks, her family has been living in the open.

“We cover ourselves with plastic bags; if you saw it, you would be astonished. Passersby on the road are usually taken aback. We have fenced off an acacia tree, and we sleep beneath it,” she recounted.

Her family depends on the income from selling firewood, which Saynab collects and carries on her back from a location 10 kilometers outside the camp. With the meager proceeds, they can only afford one meal a day, equivalent to $1.5.

Her family was displaced from Janay Abdulle, which is located 60 kilometers from Kismayo, after losing 120 goats to drought between 2019 and 2020. They sought refuge in the IDP camps, hoping to receive humanitarian assistance.

The chairman of Jubaland’s committee for IDPs and refugees, Ali Adan Ali, assured Radio Ergo that the ocean winds had intensified over the past three weeks, resulting in widespread homelessness among the already displaced population.

“We urge swift provision of housing to these people. We have engaged with aid organizations, and they are working on it. Hopefully, the houses will be ready soon. Furthermore, we hope that aid organizations will provide relief distributions to the affected individuals,” he stated.