Since January 2018, over 234,000 people have been forcibly removed from their homes in Somalia. In August this year, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warned that the number of evictions was nearly twice the number of the same period last year. Many people have been made homeless multiple times.
Fleeing conflict and drought: Aden is a 69-year-old father of six and displaced in his home country. In 2015, armed conflict and drought forced Aden and his family to flee their town in southern Somalia.
They arrived in the outskirts of Mogadishu, where they lived in an informal settlement for two years. Aden started selling samosas to earn a living.
Prolonged drought and violent conflict, combined with the lack of access to essential services in varying parts of Somalia, have forced many to migrate from rural to urban areas.
This has created many new settlements, especially in Mogadishu. The city hosts more than 600,000 internally displaced people – a third of the total figure in Somalia.
In the early hours of the morning a little over a year ago, Aden was preparing samosas in the kitchen when armed men came to the settlement and ordered everyone to leave. “We had not had any warning.”
The men started arguing with the settlement leader and some of them opened fire. Three stray bullets hit Aden. “I didn’t realise I was shot until things calmed down. By then, I had lost much blood and was rushed to the hospital.”
Rapidly growing cities; Cities in Somalia are already struggling to address the needs of their poorer populations. With the migration from rural areas, a sizeable population of Somalia’s farmers and pastoralists have come to live in cities where they have trouble finding a livelihood.
This is a cause of concern for rapidly growing cities and Somalia’s key agricultural economy. What used to be considered seasonal rural-urban migration has increasingly become a permanent move to cities as rural livelihoods have been destroyed by recurrent and protracted droughts and violent conflict since the collapse of the government in 1990.
Settlements such as the one Aden and his family were living in are usually in the outskirts of the city.
As population density rises in Mogadishu, displaced people and urban poor are being pushed further out – and with every kilometre they go, the chances of exploitation increase.
It was only a few months after he was released from the hospital that we encountered Aden.
The bullets had struck him in his right leg leaving him unable to walk without a cane. He spent over two months in the hospital and was discharged when he could no longer afford it.