Toilets and water have been made available to hundreds of families living in camps in Hudur, Bakool region, following an increase in displacement due to conflict in this part of southern Somalia.
South West regional state’s ministry of energy and water resources installed 450 toilets in 10 IDP camps, where currently 5,729 displaced people are living. The ministry also installed water kiosks, with financial support from Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
These are the first toilets the IDPs have been able to use.
Ministry coordinator, Abdullahi Nur Mohamed, said they acted to avoid an outbreak of diseases after realising there was a lack of toilets and a surge of newly displaced families reaching Hudur.
“We assessed the situation of the IDP families and we realised their biggest need was toilets more than even water. That is how we set up the toilets and water kiosks,” he said.
Hassan Mohamed Keer and his family of eight have been living in Garaswayne camp since fleeing their drought-ruined farm in the rural area outside Hudur. He said he worried every time his children and wife had to walk into the bush to go to the toilet because it was not safe. They also had to walk half an hour to a well and often went without any water.
“At least now we have access to a toilet and free water taps inside the camp,” he said, noting though that the toilets were not enough for everyone in the camp.
However, whilst Hassan welcomed the free water and the toilets, he said that his family lacks food as he is jobless. The family of eight depends on money sent by his relatives.
“We cook whatever we receive from well-wishers, there is no food at home. Some days we go to bed without eating anything the whole day,” he said.
Edebo Hassan Malin, another IDP in the camp, said she and her friends accompanied each other when going to the toilet in the bush. She was also pleased to be able to access as much free water as they needed for the day.
“We are women and anything could happen to us while relieving ourselves in the bush. Lacking toilets is a big problem and we are more than happy to have toilets in our camp now,” she said.
“It used to take us a one-hour walk to and from the water well daily, but now thank God, we have water kiosks,” she said.
The prices of basic food items have risen to an all-time high recently in Hudur due to the strangle hold on the town by Al-Shabab forces controlling the surrounding areas and supply routes. Most residents cannot afford to buy food, and IDPs are even worse off.
The energy and water resources ministry coordinator said they had provided toilets and water but were not able to provide food for the IDPs.