(ERGO) – More than 1,000 desperate families from Tiyeglow in southern Somali’s Bakool region have migrated to Baidoa in neighbouring Bay region, around 270 km away, in the last two weeks due to the scarcity of food at home as a result of prolonged drought.
These families are joining the many IDP camps around Baidoa, where there is a severe water shortage and also food is scarce. Some are pitching makeshift shelters under trees, others find places to sleep in the open, while the lucky families share a space inside the camps with relatives who were already living there.
According to the South-West regional administration, there are an estimated 88,000 people living in the camps in Baidoa. The latest arrivals from Tiyeglow are arriving with nothing.
Mohamed Hareed Abdi, 62, arrived in Sheemo camp south of Baidoa with his five children five days ago. They are all sleeping in a small hut they made from branches covered with pieces of cloth. They have no food or bedding, as they left all their belongings behind in Tiyeglow.
He said they get some food from their neighbours in a nearby camp, as it is hard for him to provide for his family at his age. Mohamed trekked with his children for 50 km before getting a lift in a truck the rest of the way to Baidoa.
“I was carrying my four-year old daughter on my back while we walked, we stopped occasionally so that the other children could get some rest”, Mohamed told Radio Ergo.
Mohamed’s family depended on a two hectare farm eight km outside Tiyeglow town. His land has not produced anything for the last four years, because of successive rain failure. He said they had survived by eating the food from their grain stores for the first two years, but when the stores were depleted further hardship set in.
Life got even tougher when his wife died eight months ago. She used to sell vegetables in a market in Tiyeglow to earn some income for the family. Mohamed borrowed $200 to keep going for a while, but having failed to pay it back he could not get any more loans or credit. He was therefore forced to migrate from his house for the first time in his life.
Dahabo Nuur Mohamed, a mother of four children including a five year old, is living in ABC2 camp in southern Baidoa. She arrived three days ago from Tiyeglow. The family split up, with her husband migrating to Beletweyne to look for work. Dahabo said they had not found anything to eat over the past 24 hours. They got some beans and sugar from their neighbours in their first two days in Baidoa.
She and her children are sleeping in a house made of sticks, cardboard and pieces of cloth.