(ERGO) – The population of Amara town, 220 km south of Galkayo, has swollen dramatically in the last month with the arrival of 670 pastoralist families from surrounding villages that have not had any rain for three years.
Mohamed Ali Farah brought his family with eight children to the town two weeks ago after the well in Aad, 28 km away, dried up completely. They are depending on relatives for the small amount of food they can share.
“One of my relatives helped me to get my family on a bus to tome here, as the children were too feeble to walk. We stay with this family but we can’t stay long for you can imagine the burden we are to them,” Mohamed said.
“I used to have 250 goats, not one is left now. I get my food from this family that is barely any better off than us, they cook once a day and we join to eat with them.”
Other destitute families have moved in to the town from villages including Qorilay, Korodi, Gumar, El-Abdi and Miliqo.
In May, 200 families in Amara received food aid from WFP but there has been no aid delivery since the influx of displaced families, putting the town under great stress.
Mohamed Ali told Radio Ergo’s local reporter that he had no job skills to offer in the market, so was idling around the town with no means of earning any income.
Ibaado Abdi Farah, a mother of six, arrived in town three weeks ago from Miliqo village, 27 km away, with the 20 goats remaining from the family’s original herd of 200. As with the other families, lack of water and food forced them to move.
“My husband fled to Mogadishu when the drought became intense and the livestock were wiped out. The children and I moved to Amara where my mother lives. We walked for a few hours with the children including my youngest three year old son, and a lorry gave us a ride to Amara. We are better off here but we have to beg from others,” she said.
Yusuf Salad Mohamed, the chairman of Amara, told Radio Ergo that everyone was feeling the burden of the arrival of the new families. The town depended on the business generated by herders and their livestock and even town dwellers have lost livestock in the drought.
There are now a total of 1,200 displaced families in Amara, including the most recently arrived 670 families. The administration says there is no aid coming in so they are making plans with the religious leaders to see how to assist them