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[Photos] Thousands of Somalians find shelter in tents, amidst hunger and abuse

The effects of war on Somalia is still deafening as millions of inhabitants have been forced out of their homes since 1991.                                        

As many as 1,349 camps for displaced persons have sprung around the Somali capital Mogadishu, full of women and children without access to social amenities.The consequences of the war in Somalia has been devastating and  become a deadly humanitarian crisis.

One of the camps, the Alrahma camp, located in the Nekele community, West of Mogadishu holds over 700 households mostly women and children. Each household has an average of five members.

Apart from water, these internally displaced people have little or no access to food.

Journalists from Ghana and Nigeria on a field visit to Amisom were exposed to the harsh realities at the Alrahma Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp.

Tents made of strands of cloths and sacks remain the only shelter for the people who were forced out of their homes due to the war.

This is the what the victims call a home at the camps

Most of the IDPs came from communities in lower Hirshabelle, one of the six states of Somalia, which is miles away from Mogadishu.

Women and children were said to be exposed to sexual and gender-based violence and abuses, with others rarely paying attention to the welfare of their own babies.

A baby strapped to her mother’s back

According to the gender focal person of the African Union Mission in Somalia, Amisom, Inspector Rachel Malambo, the disturbing conditions are violations of child rights, noting children are either forcibly recruited as war mongers or for any form of child labour. 

United Nations High Commissioner for refugees, (UNHCR) report on the Somalia situation in 2017, estimated 1.5 million people were internally displaced, with nearly 900,000 being refugees in nearby countries.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, an arm of the Norwegian Refugee Council, specialized in data and analysis on internal displacement, recorded 341,000 new IDP camps in Somalia between January and June this year alone.

These statistics, experts argue, must be warning signals for the rest of Africa, especially countries where political intolerance is still rife.

A 36-year old footballer, Abdellah Elhamdi, has been in the camp for six months, and recounted some of their ordeal.

Abdellah Elhamdi recounting his ordeal

“We were forced into this camp as a result of severe fighting in lower Hirshabelle, between clan soldiers and al Shaaba. We are starving here; no access to food, health care, education and proper shelter.We mostly go to sleep without food,” he recounted.

He appealed to the United Nations, the African Union and other humanitarian groups to come to their aid.

By Peter Quao Adattor|| Ghana

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