IDP families near Kismayo made homeless by destructive winds

Amina Isaq, and her nine children have been sleeping under a plastic sheet tied over some bushes in Luglow village since 22 July, when strong ocean winds in this part of Somalia’s Lower Juba region blew down their house.

As the winds continue, Amino worries about the effect of the constant dust on her newborn baby, less than two months old.

advertisements“There is a bad wind that you’d think is almost a hurricane,” she told Radio Ergo. “It’s carrying red soil, so me and my children couldn’t even see each other.

Our house was made of wood and plastic sheets, it wasn’t a very good house and it just collapsed. We don’t have a house now, the day it collapsed was the worst day. I had just given birth and couldn’t do much let alone build a house. Now we are here living outside.”

Amino’s was one of 700 houses constructed by UNHCR in January in the El-Jalle IDP camps in Luglow, 25 kilometres outside Kismayo, that were destroyed by the strong winds, according to the local authorities.

Two of Amino’s children have been diagnosed with bronchitis and she has been going back and forth to a health centre in Goobweyn for medication. The doctors advised her to protect the children from the cold but sleeping outside makes that impossible.

“The two youngest children are the worst, the second youngest is a year and seven months old. Yesterday I took them to Goobweyn and I had already taken them there a few days ago. We don’t have any health care in this area,” she said.

They are also short of food and she does not know why WFP stopped the distributions of 25 kilogram of flour, rice, sugar and cooking oil they used to receive.

They arrived in Luglow in early 2020 from Jilib, where they suffered crop failure on their 10 hectares of farmland due to drought. Now her husband moved to Kismayo to look for a job, leaving her to take food on loan from local stores and sometimes beg to feed her children.

The camps in Luglow are home to around 9,000 displaced families, many of whom have lost their houses in buffeting winds from the ocean seven kilometres away.

Saynab Mahad Mumin kept trying to pick up the plastic sheets, cardboard and pieces of cloth that made up her family’s flimsy shack in the camp but it kept getting blown away. Finally, she gave up and for the past two weeks they have been living in the open.

“We cover ourselves with plastic bags, you would be surprised if you saw it. You would wonder how we lived. People passing by on the road usually get surprised. We have fenced an acacia tree and we sleep under that tree,” she said.

Her family depends on the sale of firewood she collects and carries on her back from 10 kilometres outside the camp, making just $1.5 to buy a meal a day.

Her family was displaced from Janay Abdulle, 60 kilometres from Kismayo, after losing 120 goats to drought between 2019 and 2020. They moved to the IDP camps hoping to get relief aid.

The chairman of Jubaland’s committee for IDPs and refugees, Ali Adan Ali, told Radio Ergo that the ocean winds had strengthened in the past three weeks causing widespread homelessness for those already displaced.

“We want these people to get houses swiftly, we have spoken with the aid organisations and they are working on it. We hope they will be ready soon. We also hope some aid organisations will bring the people some aid distributions,” he said.

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