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SOMALIA: Food aid helps a mother fighting drought feed five children

         Habiba Mohamed, an IDP mother trains herself on tailoring to add her income /ICRC.

MOGADISHU (RBC Radio) Habiba Mohamed couldn’t remember the last time she went to bed without worrying how she was going to feed her five children and husband the following day.

The 26-year-old moved from her rural home in Saakow, Middle Juba region, and settled in a displacement camp in the border town of Dhobley in the hope of finding an opportunity to support her family.

“We had to leave our homes to look for food and employment opportunities after losing more than 70 heads of livestock due to the drought,” Habiba says.

Most parts of Lower Juba including Dhobley village has experienced drought after several consecutive seasons of poor rains. This has led to severe hunger, a shortage of water and the loss of livestock, a key component of a family’s economic security. The drought triggered the mass movements of residents to Dhobley and surrounding villages in search of food for their families and pasture for their surviving livestock.

Habiba had to sell one of her cows for $25 to migrate with her family to Dhobley. Her husband, who has been suffering from medical problems the past year, is bedridden, leaving her as the sole breadwinner.

Habiba moved to the camp about two months ago. On a good day, she earns around $3 doing domestic chores for households in town. Though this helps put food on the table, it’s not enough.

“There are days when my family and I go without food and only survive on black tea,” said Habiba. “I will not give up, I am taking up tailoring in the hope that I will be able to use the skills to support my family financially.”

Her family recently received food – rice, beans and cooking oil – from a distribution carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS).

Since January, the ICRC and the SRCS have distributed food to nearly 30,000 drought-affected families across Somalia. In total, more than 1.3 million people in Somalia have benefited from ICRC’s drought response this year, which includes food and cash assistance, provision of essential household items, health services and improving access to water.

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