Somalia Drought: Displaced but holding on to hope

Somalian Drought: Displaced but holding on to hope

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Hashim Hussein and Edward Ahonobadha

It has been dry in Somalia for more than 8 years. It does not rain, and when there is not enough water, people cannot harvest enough food and go hungry. Now, with the new year, the drought continues.


In Bosaaso, in northern Somalia, there are extreme water shortages. Due to a lack of food, loss of livestock, a lack of water and insecurity from armed groups, more than 49,000 Somalis fled from other parts of the country into Bosaaso’s camps for internally displaced people. Some go to these camps in hopes of receiving humanitarian aid and others, to join relatives already there. 


For these internal refugees, the ordeal continues. They struggle to survive in the camps which are over-crowded with many afraid that their children might starve to death. Women and girls in particular face added risks and are exposed to violence as they walk miles and miles between water points, often in the dark.


Mano Abdirahman Dahir, 32, is one of 3,000 people who live in the Mingis Refugee camp. A water point installed by CARE in the camp has changed her life and she is now able to access clean and safe water for domestic use.


“The new water point has really changed my life here. We used to get water from a nearby camp called Shebelle. We faced many challenges as it was the only water point and it served so many people. Having clean and safe water makes my life so much easier and I do not have to worry that my children will fall sick” says Mano, who has 6 children.


The Shebelle water point was the only water point which was serving estimated population of more than 10,000 people. You can imagine how difficult it is to have only one water point for so many people.


“We had to wake up early and sometimes fetch water till late. We had to carry the water in jerry cans between the water point and our houses. It was so exhausting, and sometimes women and girls were attacked by men and raped” she added. “This water point has turned things around for us. We do not have to worry about fetching water from far away anymore and can spend more time working to earn some money. We are very grateful to CARE for building this water point here,” says Mano.


Almost 3,000 people benefit from the new water tank. This has lessened the pressure off the other tanks. For women like Mano this means less waiting time and more safety.

In the Somalian drought women and girls are walking for hours searching for clean water. Many are drinking from whatever source they can find and often the water is contaminated. Credit: Peter Caton/CARE USA