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A family torn to pieces

Somalia, August 11, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Safiya Mohamud Said/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Because of drought and conflict in Somalia, Nadifo has lost everything but her three children — including her husband. Photo: Safiya Mohamud Said/Mercy Corps

Disasters take so many things from people; health, prosperity and hope can all fall victim. But no one can know what life has in store for them, and all we can do is carry on — just as women like Nadifo, who has struggled with some of the worst possible circumstances, has had to do.

This is a story of grief and loss. A story about a young woman in Somalia who in the prime of her life not only lost her livestock and everything she owned to the drought that has struck East Africa, but who also lost her husband and his parents in the bombing of Somalia’s war-torn capital Mogadishu.

Nadifo is a 25-year-old mother of three children. Not long ago she had a fine herd of livestock in the rural Somali area of Webiyada; she raised a wonderful family — three beautiful girls aged between two and six — and had a loving husband who helped her go about each day with harmony.

Sadly, nothing lasts forever. Change happens for good or bad, and for this family change tore them apart. The famine and drought took hold and continued to worsen in the region, and day by day they lost all their animals, down to the very last goat.

There was nothing left for the family and like many in the region they left to find help and aid in Mogadishu. But she didn’t know that life in the city would only bring loss. Her husband and his parents were killed in a bomb blast not long after they arrived, and her little four-year-old daughter was injured in a fire while they were still in shock from the loss.

“I felt like I was drowning under water. I couldn’t breathe, life was so dark to me," Nadifo said. "The agony of the loss and the screams of my children terrified me. All I wanted was to get out of that place. So I escaped to Bossaso to find relief but, even when I reaching it, I found more torture from being a victim of robbery and fright.”

Nadifo finally arrived in Bariga emergency camp in Bossaso, where Mercy Corps is helping thousands of displaced people survive. She had nothing with her but her three children.

She says she feels blessed to have escaped the place where her husband was killed, but she is still sick and emotionally disturbed by the pain and suffering. Her face is filled with despair as she tells her story — you can see the pain in her eyes before she even begins. She’s simply torn to pieces by what she’s seen.