Disasters and Emergencies

Fardosa Muse
Posted September 9, 2011 from Kenya

It has been called the worst drought in 60's years sweeping across the largest part of east Africa here in northern Kenya. Dadaab camps bear it’s brunt of an epic out flow from Somalia. Thousands of refugees arrived every week exhausted and in need of medical help.

Almost twenty years of violence, decades of abject poverty, weak governance and general state failure on many occasions international communities have tried to help to bring peace and ensure the survival of the millions Somalis who live in the shadow of permanent crises. It’s an escalating suffering but I’ am widely impressed by the resilience face of Somalis -in the worst hardship imaginable .

A 40 years old mother of eight, remained in southern Somalia despite the ongoing conflict but these drought was her last straw. In her village food price have quadrupled due to failing crops and lack of aid. The country decades of long conflict is amplifying the problem. She treks for twenty days with her family members; hungry and desperate she starts walking towards Kenya, spending weeks crossing the windswept desert with eight children in tall. Unfortunately the arduous journey without food and water cause the death to spike one by one to her lovely children and elderly husband.

The painfully haunting memories of her severely malnourished children verged of deaths, transmitted her through flashbacks to tell the horrific tale of human misery. The first victim was a seven years old son, followed by a four years old daughter. The two deceased children requested food and water from their helpless parents in a middle of nowhere, but their parents have no choice than to encourage them to move on till to reached in Dadaab refugee camps. Both of the children condition deteriorated due to malnutrition caused by the starvations. She vividly described with grieved; the last moment of her son. “ He softly requesting food and water in every second” , but he couldn’t make it and passed away in my lap while his younger sister was struggling to survive, screaming for food and water in her father’s lab and died three days later . Her elderly husband also departed after some days ;his death was no difference from the tragic deaths of his two children. Despite of this entire misfortune; the mother couldn’t make to bury the dead bodies and left where everyone ends his/her breath and tight her stomach regardless of the recurrent memories to save the rest of the children .she says “it’s a triple tragedy which trigger in my mind and nothing can fade out ’’.

It is a predictable and preventable situation: social fabric is ripped apart, severe drought for two years in a row and then failure to produce enough food. Now most of the country, millions of people, faces famine. –children licking the soil just to appease the scrolled sounds of hungry stomach, women queuing for food, carrying their back dead children whom they knew they were a live before the lining up for food .

In a bad year, farmers are particularly hard hit but this year even camels are dying of thirst. People have worked through every one of their coping mechanisms– their fall back plans – until there is nothing else to do but flee in the hope of assistance. She arrived in Dadaab, the world largest refugee camp; refugee number approaching four hundred thousand and still growing. There is no enough shelter for everyone, makeshift homes spurt everywhere. Young ones are very malnourished and child death spike in part of spurred camp. Most they are dying from low respiratory truck infection, malnourished and dehydrate. zainab (not her real name) and her remaining children struggled to survive after receiving emergency medical attention .She exhibits a verity trauma induced-symptoms including sleepless night, depression and eating disturbance.

Comments 2

Log in or register to post comments
Tipo Mai
Sep 09, 2011
Sep 09, 2011

Your story just broke my heart. I can not begin to imagine how it feels for you to see all this pain and suffering and not being able to do much about it. But thank you for your commitment and effort in being there and doing all you can to help.

Sep 10, 2011
Sep 10, 2011

Thanks Fardosa for sharing this information. In every situation of war, disaster and famine, women have always been the arrow head. Thank goodness Zainab survived the ordeal, otherwise, it should have been more disastrous for the entire family. I pray that God will keep and strengthen her for her to live and narrate this story to the world. I can imagine the pains and agony.