ACTED was the only agency that gave us prompt support
Over 2.1 million Somalis, almost one person in six, live in displacement due to ongoing drought and conflict. Many of these families are forced to shift from one site to the next. Unable to predict how or when private landowners may choose to move them on, they live in constant anxiety. To try and reduce the sense of upheaval which such a reality perpetuates, ACTED is working in Gumeni IDP Camp (Somalia) to register recently displaced families and provide them with enough money to meet their most pressing needs.
Fatuma Qasim Ali Shangalow, 37, along with her husband and eight children were among 81 families recently displaced by forced eviction. They now live in Gumeni IDP camp in Kismayo in southern Somalia and enjoy a certain stability now that they have land allocated to them from the local authorities.
Fatuma’s family, like many Somalis, faced significant challenges before they arrived at Gumeni camp:
“We moved from Kalanje village in the Middle Juba region in May 2018 because of a lack of work and the fact that armed opposition groups were taxing people in that region. We used to be farmers but all our land and produce were washed away heavy floods. Soon after we lost our farm we faced a desperate situation with not enough water, food or cash to meet our needs.”
When Fatuma and her family first moved to Kismayo in search of aid assistance, they resided in Marino Camp which was built on privately owned land. Due to a lack of proper regulation of the land used for IDP sites in Somalia, families often settle in an area with little understanding of their rights or any idea of how to hold their landlords accountable.
In October 2018, the owner of Marino Camp came and ordered every family to remove themselves from the land with no prior warning. Fatuma and all the other families residing in Marino Camp couldn’t even collect their belongings.
Luckily for Fatuma, the local authorities stepped in quickly and resettled her family on government owned land in Gumeni IDP Camp.
To ensure that those settling in this new camp would not face severe hardships in the interim period needed for humanitarian agencies to assess their situation and begin providing assistance, ACTED wasted no time in registering 81 newly arrived families so that they could benefit from short-term cash distributions. Each family received 85 $USD to ensure they could buy food, water and meet other urgent needs.
Recipients of cash distributions reported spending their money on: transport, school fees, water, food, charcoal, and sticks to build a make shift shelters.
“My family was at the lowest point, we had nothing to eat, to buy water and other household needs. After we received the 85 dollars I felt blessed
This project was made possible through the support of ECHO