Somalia – It is estimated that there are around 323,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) currently in Baidoa, Bay region of Somalia. Drought has been one of the primary causes of displacement. With no water, there is a severe shortage of crops and livestock, leading to loss of livelihoods or even starvation.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) team interviewed Faduma upon her arrival to Baidoa.
Faduma comes from Tubay village in Bakool region and is a mother of six children. The family has spent their lives as pastoralists who herd animals and tend to small rain-fed farms. Faduma says she has suffered from hunger and now has a malnourished child. After their last cow died, everyone in the family knew that the children would be next to perish if they stayed. The family was determined to survive so they left Tubay village and walked for 90 kilometers to reach Baidoa town in search for assistance.
Every day new people migrate to Baidoa in hope of easing their suffering; however, many families have no idea about the reality of what is waiting for them upon arrival. In many cases, they get stranded in a camp with no food, water or any humanitarian assistance.
“If help doesn’t come soon, we will be burying people because there is no way we can survive,” Faduma says, explaining their situation.
Feeding her six children is a challenge that Faduma faces every day. At this point, she only finds enough food to feed them one meal a day.
“We are living one day at a time, my children are getting weaker and weaker day by day. There is nothing that I can do, except go and beg for help from the town. We pastoralists know all too well about a harsh life.”
The long walks to fetch water, to find pasture, the cold nights and the windy storms are all things that Faduma is used to.
“But this!” she says. “This is way beyond what we can handle.”
Faduma carries the burden of not only her own survival but that of her six children. Their situation is dire and she says she feels hopeless as she has to watch her children sleep with an empty stomach with no end in sight and all survival options exhausted. It is a pain that no parent should have to bear.
“We have heard of people who received food aid but we have not received any help. Our fate now lies in the mercy of the clouds; all I pray for is that this rainy season doesn’t fail us as well.”
The situation has now also become extremely urgent as Faduma has a baby girl suffering from severe acute malnutrition. She is making a desperate plea for help from donors and well-wishers to assist her child.
Even though humanitarian partners are stepping up assistance to drought-affected populations in Bay and Bakool regions, the need for urgent life-saving relief in form of food, water and cash assistance is still desperately in need.
When asked about her future plans, Faduma insists she is not planning to return to Tubay village any time soon due to insecurity in the area and the depletion of their assets due to the drought. She further explains, “I would like to stay in Baidoa town mainly because we will have access to education and better services for all of us including my children.”