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Somalis displaced by long-term drought struggle to celebrate Ramadan

Somalis displaced by long-term drought struggle to celebrate Ramadan
A supermarket in Mogadishu   -  
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Like elsewhere in the world, Moslems in Somalia are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan. As the sun sets, families gather together to break their fast with generous dinners and special treats.

But faced with the country’s longest drought, many people are struggling to make ends meet.

Five consecutive failed rainy seasons has withered local crops and millions of livestock that are central to people’s diets have died.

"When there is drought in Somalia it is more likely that the farmers will produce less. That is one of the main factors for the soaring price of food and other basic commodities,” said Dr Ahmed Khadar Abdi Jama, an economics lecturer at Somalia University.

He said the second reason was Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“As you know Somalia imports almost more than thirty per cent of the food consumed in the country," he said.

The typical Ramadan evening meal includes samosas and other snacks, something to drink like tea or coffee, with a main dish of rice or flatbread with camel, goat, chicken or fish, and finally, dessert.

But for the more than 1 million Somalis who have fled their homes in search of help because of the drought, this is no longer possible. Hadiiq Abdulle Mohamed is one of them.

She queued for hours at a displacement camp in the capital, Mogadishu, to collect food for her family. Their evening meal will consist of water and whatever else might be at hand.

Appeal for assistance

The imams of mosques in the city are leading efforts to encourage the wealthy and others who can afford it to sympathize with the poor and give generously.

"We must assist brothers and sisters who are poor and affected by the drought by providing them with food, so they may break their fast. Let us increase alms and good deeds during Ramadan,” said Imam Sheikh Abdikarim Isse Ali.

The holy months is traditionally a time for giving of alms and forgiveness throughout the Muslim world.

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