Somalia's worsening drought crisis
Time's running out for the most vulnerable as children's basic needs aren't met.
I just returned from my field mission in southern Somalia, where I visited a number of people displaced by the prolonged drought.
In one of the settlement camps in the district of Doolow, I met Kin Mohammed, a mother of six children who had moved from northern Somalia. The drought claimed all of Kin's livestock. She now lives in a tiny, makeshift shelter with her five children. Three of her children are living with different disabilities, including two who are unable to walk.
Kin and her children travelled to the settlement camp to survive. I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult the journey must have been like. Kin had to raise about USD$200 from well-wishers for transport and largely depends on donations or asks her neighbours for food.
The living conditions at the camp are heartbreaking. There are nearly 3,000 families, including18,000 individuals, living in tiny makeshift shelters. Water access is a critical gap with only one water point, provided by World Vision, available.
Children in the settlement camp have become accustomed to skipping meals for days. They need to play, especially given the trauma some have experienced while journeying to these settlements.
Psychosocial support, combined with play and creative activities, would go a long way to relieve the trauma of fleeing conflict and now drought.
We must therefore look at the needs of children and their lives in totality, and further explore what kind of support we can offer them. This includes support for better shelters that would help ensure the children and their parents' dignity and privacy.
Amidst the despair I have not lost hope in the world’s sense of humanity.
Thanks to World Vision's ongoing engagement with the World Food Programme, Kin and her children will begin receiving food assistance vouchers, every month for the next six months. Across Doolow district alone, 37,697 people are receiving monthly food assistance.
We aim to reach 66,000 people with critical support in the district by December.
(By Tobias Oloo, Operations Director, WV Somalia)
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