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Displaced in Mogadishu – a living hell for wounded young farmer from Lower Shabelle

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Adan, 20, displaced from Lower Shabelle, whose legs were burnt to the bone in an accidental fire before he fled. (Image blurred due to graphic content)/Munasar Mohamed/Ergo

(ERGO) – Adan Abdi, 20, arrived on the outskirts of Mogadishu this month hoping to access urgent medical assistance for the agonizing burns to his legs sustained in an accidental fire at home in southern Somalia’s troubled Lower Shabelle region.

Adan fled with his family from Kurtunwarey, where years of persistent drought ruined their farm and conflict raged nearby between the Al-Shabab militant group and the Somali army back by African Union troops.

But three weeks on – camped out in the open in a bleak settlement for some 230 displaced people in Mogadishu’s suburbs – Adan has not been able to get even a dose of antibiotics to fight the infection visibly eating away at his flesh.  His legs have been burnt to the bones.

An accidental fire burnt down their house in Kurtunwarey district in Lower Shabelle in January. Adan rushed in to try to rescue the family’s belongings and was burnt from his thighs down to his feet.  They lost everything and moved in with neighbours, before deciding to leave in a small exodus of other desperate farmers.

Adan left Kurtunwaley with his father, uncle, and two small sisters aged five and seven, transported for the first rough part of the journey by donkey cart owned by another family also moving out. They got a lift in a vehicle to Afgoye with people horrified by Adan’s suffering, followed by another lift to the outskirts of Mogadishu.

The camp leaders welcomed them to an open space designated as a new IDP camp, where there are no structures or shelters and no services. The leaders promised the family they would seek assistance for them from aid organizations and government offices, but nobody has helped them.

Adan, who can barely speak, indicated that he is in constant pain. He cannot stand up and has to be carried around, including to use the toilet in a nearby camp. He said he went without food many times before they fled their home, but manages to get a regular meal now.

The displaced families here are receiving a distribution of cooked beans once a day, but because of the large number of people there is usually not enough to go round.  Some go hungry and have to ask others to share their portion or simply wait for the following day hoping for better luck. They have to get water from a tap in a nearby camp.

Kahda and Garasballey district administrations, on the western outskirts of Mogadishu, have reported the arrival of around 500 newly displaced families from Lower Shabelle since the beginning of March.  These two areas host most of the IDP camps in Banadir. Most are fleeing drought and conflict in Kurtunwarey, Awdhegle and other villages in Afgoye districts of Lower Shabelle.

Some of them have joined already overcrowded IDP camps. Others have been directed to the new undeveloped settlements.

Adan’s family had two hectares of land in Kurtunwarey, where they farmed using rain water as irrigation. In the last three years, however, they had not planted anything due to the consecutive failed rainy seasons.

Until mid-last year they depended on what the small amounts of food they had previously stored. But the food ran out and the area around their farm had once again become a combat zone. The area has seen conflict several times in the recent past.

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