round 500 drought-displaced families from Mudug, Nugal, and Somali Region in Ethiopia have gathered in Bursalah, a border town in Goldogob district in Puntland, where they are facing food and water shortage.
Deeqo Mohamed Jama and her six children used to enjoy a decent living from pastoralism in south Mudug but are now living on handouts from local people and the diaspora.
“The drought has hit us badly. Our livestock are thin, and we have not been able to sell them off,” she said.
The family also escaped conflict and insecurity in their home area in Baadweyne, where Deeqo lost her husband in fighting between the Galmudug government and Al-Shabab. This destitute mother had not even paid the transport from their village 13 kms away.
She fled Baadweyne in February after losing 160 goats to the drought. They arrived in Bursalah with 30 goats and one donkey and now live in makeshift shacks.
With scarce resources and as relatively newcomers to this area, displaced families including Deeqo’s have been struggling to cope. Unlike the local people in the area, they cannot get food and other items on credit from local stores.
Hodan Abdi Farah, a mother of nine also from Baadweyne, told Radio Ergo they get one scanty meal a day. She has desperately been trying to sell off her 40 goats and 11 camels but has not found anyone interested in her drought-ravaged livestock. The animals provide neither milk nor meat and many look close to dying.
They found a small amount of fodder in Bursalah when they arrived but it was quickly depleted. They sometimes give maize to the livestock trying to keep them alive.
“The people are hungry; the livestock don’t have fodder and it’s all too expensive to afford. If you take them to the market, they don’t easily attract buyers as they fall below the market standards,” said Hodan.
In August, each family received a package of 10 kgs including flour, rice, and sugar. They were also given plastic water containers and bedding. This aid was raised by local contributions.
The chairman of the village of Darussalam, Mohamud Sheikh Abdi, said thousands of families have migrated to his village and others in Bursalah. In the past two months the locals and some in the diaspora collected cash to help the families, whilst the IDPs also try to support each other.
“We asked the people to collect some cash, they sent amounts like $30, $20, $15 or $10 and that went towards the water, plastic water cans, and food,” he said.
Source: Radio Ergo