Somalia: “My child cries for food”

Halimo’s 18-month-old daughter has her arm measured for signs of malnutrition

Around 700,000 people in Somalia have had to leave their homes in search of food and water, because of the prolonged drought gripping the region. What is it like to not know where your next meal is coming from?


A mother and child in Somalia
Deeqo, pregnant mother of five children

I worry all day about how I’m going to feed my children.

“If my husband gets work that day, we eat. If he doesn’t, we don’t eat. We didn’t eat anything yesterday, but my husband brought money today for me to cook porridge.”

My child cries for food, but I have nothing to give them. Sometimes I don’t eat because I only have enough food to feed my children.


A woman and children in Somalia
Rahmo, mother of six children, two of whom are getting food supplements from a CARE nutrition centre

“Before the drought, we made living from our livestock, but the drought killed nearly all 70 of my goats. After that, we could not find food or water, so we came to Bosaso where my husband is trying to find day labour.

“If we eat all depends on if my husband finds work. Sometimes I ask the neighbours for food for my children.”

It is so difficult to see my babies crying for food, and not be able to feed them. I’m a mother. A mother is always worried about her babies.


Women and child collecting water in Somalia
Layla, mother of six children, came to the camp in Bosaso from South Central Somalia

“We were walking 1.5 hours to get water from shallow wells and they dried up. I had 100 goats and all of them died.

“Three of my children died three months ago from diarrhoea. We went from eating two meals a day to one, and sometimes none. I came to Bosaso to try and save my other children.”

I’m so sad. I have nothing to give my children and nothing to go back home to.

How CARE is helping

In the displaced people camps, CARE is operating nutrition screening and treatment centres for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and children under five. We have so far treated over 11,000 severely malnourished children – including the six-month-old son of Fawsiyo, pictured below:

A woman and child in Somalia
Fawsiyo, mother of five children, brought her six-month-old son for treatment for vomiting and diarrhoea

For families in Somalia, every day is a struggle for survival. The prolonged drought means food and clean water are scarce. Mothers often go without food so their children can share what little they have.

We are doing all we can – but there are so many mothers who don’t have enough food to feed their children. Please donate now to help CARE provide emergency food, nutrition, and water to families in Somalia and across East Africa.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.