Amina Yusuf Abdi and her seven children are living in a flimsy hut she wove together from pieces of cloth, paper bags and twigs on open land after being evicted from the house in Burao, Somaliland, where they had lived in for 20 years
They are among around 100 families who had to move in a hurry when the local authority told them the land they were living on had reverted to its original status as a military base. The municipal council transported them to a bleak place called Dhamka-Sii-Bakhti, nine km on the eastern outskirts of town.
There are no facilities or services in this area, not even the most basic.
“You can see we don’t even have toilets,” Amina told Radio Ergo’s local reporter. “Our children go into the open for the toilet. The council that evicted us has not got back to us since then so we don’t have anyone to complain to, and we don’t have anything at all here.”
Amina has already had to construct a second shelter after the last hut was destroyed in heavy rains last week. Her stocks of dry food, including flour, rice and sorghum, were ruined. Their bedding was soaked. She used to earn a living from a small stall she ran in the previous camp, but here she relies on occasional food handouts from her relatives in town.
“The rains started to pour and soaked everything. Our small shelters couldn’t withstand the heavy rain, they were destroyed from top to bottom, but we have rebuilt them again,” said Amina.
The families feel they have been abandoned. There are no health facilities in Dhamka-Sii-Bakhti and no schools nearby. The nearest facilities are in Burao.
Sado Saleban Ige has nine children. Six of her children who previously attended school have not been out for a month since their enforced move. Her 19-year-old son was in the final year of secondary school.
“All my children were born in our previous location, where the school was close to us. My first born son who started education there was just about to finish this year. A round-trip to Burao by bus is $2 and I cannot afford that,” said Saado.
The director of social welfare in Burao, Khadar Nuh Said, told Radio Ergo they are planning to build 100 iron-sheet houses to house these people but the plans have not yet advanced.
Dahir Jama Muse is one of 10 members of the committee set up to represent the evicted families. He said they are working on getting housing and toilets from the municipal government. They want to be housed nearer the urban area so that they can get closer to the market for work and get education for their children.