Every one of the tens of thousands of people affected by this year’s famine has a unique, heart-wrenching story. However, by just talking to a few of the families, we were able to discover an intimate understanding on the suffering they have been enduring. After some interviews, our staff came to a sad realization that many of them shared a similar experience. The Badbado Refugee Camp in Mogadishu, Somalia is frequented everyday by hundreds of refugees, driven out of their homes by drought. These individuals have traveled long distances on foot, many of them carrying with them their children who have been too weakened to walk. Forced away from their previous lives in search of simplest necessities such as food and water, they are in desperate need of our attention.
Grandmother Mogay and three-year-old Abdi
Badbado means “rescue”, but a child is far from being safe, even if it reaches the camp. One of the children is three-year-old Abdi. In her desperation, Abdi’s mother decided to send grandmother Mogay and little Abdi to the refugee camp in Mogadishu together with their neighbor. It took the little group around a week to reach the camp from Diinsoor, which is over 200 miles away. In Diinsoor the food situation is a catastrophe and Abdi’s parents hoped that he and his grandmother would have a better chance in the camp. Now the grandmother is in charge of taking care of little Abdi. She can hardly lift the little boy up when he starts crying. “We try to survive on what we get,” says Mogay.
The problem is that children as little as Abdi cannot live off rice alone, which is given out in the camp. “It is not good to be here. I would like to have a little bit more food,” says Mogay before Abdi gets to see the doctor, who lifts up the little boy’s shirt. “He has a fever, a cough and diarrhea. And he weighs far, far too little,” says the doctor, who also looks at the boy’s palms. If they are white, this means that he also suffers from anemia. He does. The doctor gives Mogay medicine and explains to her what to do. It is not easy to take care of little Abdi in a camp where water and food is difficult to get. “In October we will go back and try to cultivate the soil if it starts to rain”, says Mogay. But it does not really look like there will be any rain before next year, so it is a plan for the distant future.
Burra Kapa, two-year-old Lul and nine-year-old Hava
Burra Kapa has four children and two of them are sick. Burra Kapa and her eldest son sit with the two sick ones, two-year-old Lul and her big sister Hava on a simple bench. Hava has had diarrhea for five days. That is far too long – if the treatment had been better and Hava had not been as malnourished, it would have been gone in two days, explains one of the doctors. But a child like Hava, who has not eaten for a few days, loses appetite and refuses to take food. Therefore both sisters get the drip to avoid dehydration and a probe, so the doctors can be sure that the child receives treatment and gets food in her stomach. Hava also got this treatment. No child should die of diarrhea, and it is easy to treat, if one knows how.
Nuqay and her daughter Bolo
The mother is called Nuqay – Bolo, the girl, is two years old. They come from a town 25 miles from Mogadishu. Bolo has been lying on the floor for four nights and has diarrhea. Before they came here they lived in another camp for two months. They traveled here with their mother, sister and three other children. The animals died, there was no water and no crops. “So we left.” Nuqay thinks that it will maybe take a year before they can go back.
SOS Children’s Villages is taking action to give these children better treatment. Make a donation today to support our efforts in East Africa and throughout the world.