By Osman Mohamed Osman
Today, the world is painted red. February 14, the 45th day of the Gregorian calendar, is Valentine’s Day where love is shared around the globe.
As the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, we witness this every day. In the harrowing heat of Somaliland, we met the unconditional love of grandmother Qadija Awad with grandson, Mawa, nestled in her arms at a mobile clinic.
Mawa has suffered from ten days of chronic diarrhoea – he is dehydrated and severely malnourished.
“We felt very worried. With diarrhoea and stomach pain, we knew he had a health problem,” Qadija says, looking at her grandson in a tiny clinic camped by the Somali Red Crescent (SRC). “We heard from the community that the Red Cross was coming so we knew he would get treated as well as receive nutritional supplements he needs.”
As nomads, the family depend on their livestock to survive, but due to the drought, 280 of their camel, goats and sheep died, leaving only 20 alive. They now live on one or two meals, consisting of rice and sugar tea, a day.
“We have had to move around to keep our livestock alive, but most of them did not survive,” Qadija says. “I hope we can recover from this. It has really impacted me physically and psychologically.”
As the region faces an uncertain future, with looming famine and children suffering from malnutrition, Qadija acknowledge that the love for Mawa keep her going as she get older.
An estimated 6.2 million are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and SRCS remains the only lifeline since the government do not have resources to access rural areas like Lamadhadher where Qadija and her family reside.
The International Federation of Red cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is supporting the SRCS through an Emergency Appeal that seeks 10,491,893 Swiss francs to help 353,000 vulnerable people in Somaliland and Puntland until June 2018.