Where there is no aid. Community religious leaders in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, are filling the gaps in aid distribution by raising funds to help the thousands displaced by fighting. The most pressing need they are addressing first is water.
Sheikh Abdifatah Aweys, a religious leader [...] said their efforts were not meant to replace aid agencies who were absent on the ground at present: “We know we cannot cover everything, so we are doing what we can. These are our people and our religion dictates that you help those less fortunate.”
Aweys said the group went around Bakara market collecting donations from the business community and had set up billboards showing the poor living conditions of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
“People have been amazing; even those with little contribute,” he said.
The group has so far helped about 8,500 [51,000 people] families with water.
If more contributions came in, other needs, such as food and medicine would also be addressed.
Abdullahi Salad, a displaced person and one of the beneficiaries, told IRIN his camp had depended on water trucking by an international aid agency but this had stopped in January .
“Since 1 January, we have not had any water until this local group started delivering it five days ago,” Salad said.
He said that Bashi camp, with more than 600 families, had received regular water deliveries over the past five days.
Aweys said they had funds to deliver water to the camps for 20 days. “I am hopeful that we will get more donations from Somalis to continue and expand [distribution].”
Source: IRIN, 09 Feb 2010