BEFORE they had to leave their home, Noorto Mo-Allim’s family owned bulls and cows, and farmed maize and corn.
But, as a victim of one of the world’s most complex and longstanding humanitarian emergencies – the ongoing crisis in Somalia – she has now been living in an aid camp for three months.
There, she has given birth to her youngest daughter, and is reliant on the food packages provided by the Mercy Corps.
The charity says that while large-scale famine has so far been averted in 2017, the impact of a drought has been devastating.
Nearly a million people are on the brink of famine.
In total, more than 6.2 million people, half of the country’s population, are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, with Noorto and her family an example of the many saved from hunger by the work of Mercy Corps.
Large food packages distributed by the international charity include rice, flour, oil, beans, sugar, tea and dates.
Working with local leaders of the camps, Mercy Corps identifies the most vulnerable and needy households, including the elderly, sick, and single parents.
Noorto said: “To us, this is a lot of food, maybe to you it only seemed like you were giving us a little.
“We thank you and whoever was involved in this distribution.
“I am going to share with my neighbours who are orphans, I don’t think the food will last a long time.”
Mercy Corps is The Herald’s Christmas Charity and by donating to our appeal you can support its life-changing work.
In 2016 and 2017 the situation in Somalia has been aggravated by the impact of four consecutively poor rainy seasons.
These led to large-scale new displacement – since January 2017 more than 975,000 Somalis have left their home due to drought or violence.
Between February and October this year the number of people on the brink of famine doubled to 800,000.
Mercy Corps has been working in Somalia since 2005.
During that time it has helped more than one million people access food, clean water, market support, and education and civic opportunities for young people.
Abdikadir Mohamud, Somalia Country Director for Mercy Corps, said: “Right now in Somalia the situation is dire for families who are struggling with the effects of the drought.
“The rainfall has been low and many people have lost their means to make a living and feed themselves.
“Added to that, the security situation has intensified with the planned offensive by the government, which is causing more displacement of people.
“Mercy Corps focusses our emergency response in some of the hardest hit areas, providing life-saving support to families by providing clean drinking water and school-feeding. Our work helps people to remain in their villages where they can so they don’t have to move to displacement camps.”
But he added: “Unfortunately, without additional funds, we can only see the situation in Somalia getting worse.
“With the continued low rainfall, we are looking at more families having to rely on humanitarian support to feed themselves.”
Somalia has suffered more than 20 years of civil strife and extremism, which has resulted in people being displaced from their homes for years, and relying on governmental and humanitarian assistance.
For three years now the biannual rains have failed, impacting the lives of millions of Somalis who rely on the land to survive.
Drought, flooding and ongoing conflict threaten the food security of millions of people already living in a precarious economic situation.
Mercy Corps is assisting over 2.2 million Somalis with water, food, hygiene services, seeds and tools and income-generating activities.
Please consider donating to the Herald’s Christmas Charity Appeal on behalf of the work of Mercy Corps in Somalia, Syria, and many other crisis hit areas of the world.