Somaliland:People fleeing conflict in the town of Tukaraq fall prey to wild animals

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Somalilandsun: More than 1,000 families in Tukaraq have been forced to flee their homes, following ongoing conflict in this part of the northern Somali region of Sool.

Local leaders told Radio Ergo most of them have moved to rural places near Kursu-Dubalay, 18 km west of Tukaraq, and others to Higlo, God-qaboobe and Faleedh-yaale

Tukaraq is in the area disputed by Puntland and Somaliland. The local council of elders told Radio Ergo that displaced families included both Tukaraq town dwellers and people who were already displaced by the drought.

They said the conflict has left these families homeless and hungry and vulnerable to challenges including attacks by wild animals.

Ibado Ali Farah fled from Higlada, 15 km north of Tukaraq, with her five children looking for a safer place. But the first night they arrived in Kursu-dubaley they were attacked by hyenas. Ibado told Radio Ergo that a 15-year-old boy suffered head injuries after being attacked by a hyena while he slept. His family managed to scare the animal off by throwing rocks and shouting. The boy was later taken to Lasanod for medical treatment.

Ibado said they had camped in Kursu-dubaley because there was water for their livestock. However, wild animals also came to the water source at night to drink, making it very dangerous.

“Besides the lack of shelter and the rains, we have been in constant fear at night, as the hyenas visit the well looking for water,” Ibado said.

Some of the families fleeing Tukaraq migrated to Daldhac, Higlada and Beerwayne on the outskirts of the town.

Abdi Mohamed, one of the elders of Tukaraq, told Radio Ergo that 600 drought-hit IDPs who were living in camps among those displaced again by the conflict.

Shugri Muse Salah, a mother of eight, fled her home in Tukaraq on 15 May. She is staying in Daldhac, 15 km west of Tukaraq, where she can access water. She said she had no time to collect any of her belongings before they ran away.

“The biggest problem is that we don’t have shelter, we don’t have food or medical care, and my two youngest children are now sick and there is no health centre or medicine. They have a bad fever and have been vomiting,” Shugri told Radio Ergo.

Shugri said her family was not able to cook for the first three days when they arrived in Daldhac after walking for four hours and then getting a ride in a vehicle. They had to ask for cooked food that other displaced families could spare. They spend their days sheltering under trees and slept under makeshift structures they made of sticks and rags.

Shugri owned a small stall and used to earn a reasonably comfortable income for her family. The town-dwellers of Tukaraq and the IDPs are all facing similar hardships now, with lack of food and no proper shelter.

Ahmed Abdi Abtiile, of Somali Development Association operating in Sool and Sanag regions, said they distributed food to 150 families in Daldhac on 17 May, including 75kg of rice, flour, sugar and cooking oil. They are planning to distribute food for 200 families in June.

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