Fadumo Hussein: "Staying home meant certain death"

Together with hundreds of other drought-stricken residents of central Somalia, Fadumo Hussein, 35, arrived in the town of Adado on 28 April with her seven children, weak from lack of food and water. She and her family lost all their livestock - 150 goats and sheep and three transport camels. Rescuers, sent by elders to the surrounding villages, had picked her up from her homestead, half a day's walk from the town. She is now living in a makeshift camp for nomads who lost their livestock on the outskirts of Adado, in Galgadud region, central Somalia.

"We lost the camels three days ago. The goats and sheep were already gone. My husband walked to Adado to get some help but he collapsed on the way and was found by the people from the town. He is alive.

"We would have left earlier but were afraid the children might not survive such a walk.

"We were brought here yesterday [28 April] with another five families who also lost their livestock. We came with nothing. Last night we spent under a tree.

"The townspeople are today trying to set up a temporary shelter but there are so many of us so I don’t know if we will get one or not but at least we have water. It is as if everybody in Badiyaha [rural area] has moved to town.

"Three of my children are sick and I am worried they will not survive. We have had one meal since we arrived, but it is still better than nothing.

"I don’t know what we will do now. The life we knew is over and I don’t know what to expect next. I cannot imagine going back [to her rural home]. There is nothing to go back to. Staying there would have meant certain death for the children and probably for us too.

"All I want now is for my children to grow up and not be hungry or thirsty all the time.

"God willing, and if we get some help, I want my children to go and learn so they can have a better life than we had and don't have to experience this kind of life."

ah/mw