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Somalia

Asli’s story of survival in drought-stricken Somalia

Asli is one of thousands of Somali women who have endured endless struggles living as an internally displaced person (IDP) in the Gedo Region of Somalia. Severe weather conditions, insecurity and infectious diseases have been relentless in the region the last 30 years. Read Asli’s story of survival and hope - and how she overcame these challenges to give back to the community she loves.

Asli was forced to flee from her home to escape drought and conflict where she lived  Photo : Trócaire Asli was forced to flee from her home to escape drought and conflict where she lived Photo : Trócaire

Asli Abdikadir is a 30-year-old woman currently living in Kabasa IDP camp. Asli and her family fled  from Garbolow, near Luuq district, to Dolow in the Gedo region of Somali,  escaping clashes and severe drought..

A farming family, all their animals died as a result of the dry weather conditions due to lack of rain. With increasing conflicts within their community, and limited resources, Asli and her family were forced to flee their home  and were settled at the Kabasa IDP camp.

Sadly, it is women and children who are most vulnerable during a crisis and face disproportionate consequences.

‘’After losing our main source of income and with the constant inter-clan clashes, we left everything behind. We had nothing except the clothes we were in when we reached the IDP camp in Dollow. We had no shelter, no food or no water.” says Asli.

“We made a small makeshift Somali traditional house from sticks and rags we found. This was our first house when we arrived and for the following year.”

‘’We had no food and we relied on food donations from humanitarian agencies, one of it being Trócaire.’’ she adds.

Through the support of humanitarian programmes in the area, Asli was later employed as a Community Health Nutrition worker with a team providing integrated health, nutrition, protection, and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Health) services to highly vulnerable IDPs, host communities, and hard-to-reach populations living in various districts in Gedo.

Asli’s daily work involves identifying malnourished children and  linking under-fives  with childhood illnesses to the Trócaire supported Dollow Referral Health Centre.

‘’Working as a community health worker made it possible to assist my community, understand basic health needs and prevention of diseases as well nutrition concepts. Besides helping my community, the income given to me every month gradually helped me to move forward with my life. It empowered me economically, and I was able to build a semi-permanent house and contribute to my family’s daily food basket.’’ Asli tells us.

In 2011, a severe famine engulfed the country killing approximately 250,000 people and forcing thousands to flee to neighbouring countries including Kenya, with many making the long journey by foot.

Since then, drought, conflict and Covid-19 have left an estimated 2.6 million people internally displaced in Somalia. On top of this, are recurring climate shocks that are worsening the existing humanitarian crisis.

The needs are huge and the situation on the ground is heart-breaking. Yet, thanks to your generous support, Trócaire has been able to reach over 290,000 Somali’s with Humanitarian Aid, and continues to support displaced women like Asli who need urgent healthcare and assistance.

In Somalia, maternal and child health is a huge challenge. Trócaire’s team of doctors and healthcare workers has been the only healthcare provider in the Gedo region for over 30 years, providing services to 19,000 people every month and educating over 4,000 children.

In 2020, life-saving nutrition interventions by Trócaire’s healthcare team has led to treatment and cure of acute malnutrition in over 17,000 children and 3,588 pregnant and lactating women. This is part of a wider humanitarian programme that provides critical support in health, nutrition, education and emergency food security in an area that is beset by conflict.

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