5/29/2020
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Somali families fear the future as overseas cash support shrinks due to the pandemic


Thursday May 21, 2020


Sarifle tirinaya lacagta Itoobiya/Yuusuf Shire/Ergo.

(ERGO) – Maryama Sheikh Mohamed Adan, a mother of six, who lives in the northern Somali city of Lasanod, told Radio Ergo that she is not able to cover her family’s needs since her husband lost his job and stopped sending monthly cash from Mozambique.

Her family is among the thousands of Somali families dependent on monthly remittances from their relatives in the diaspora. Their source of cash has been cut or reduced by the secondary effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Maryama’s landlord is demanding $150 for last month’s rent and her electricity has already been cut because she could not pay the $55 she owes to the power company.

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“I am worried about being evicted. The landlord keeps calling and telling me to either pay the rent or leave the house,” she told Radio Ergo.

Her once comfortable life in this part of Sool region was turned upside down when her husband was laid off from his job two months ago. He was working the night shift in a restaurant, but when the Mozambican government imposed a nighttime curfew from 5 pm to curb the spread of the virus, his job was axed.

Maryama has been forced to ask the neighbours for assistance to cover the family’s basic needs, including food and water.

“Everything changed so quickly. I already owe $560,” she said, sick with worry about the coming weeks and months.

Safiya Jama Abdi, a 33-year-old mother of four and resident of Lasanod, has also been affected by the cut in remittances. Her husband lost his job in a company in Saudi Arabia due to the lockdown and stopped sending the $150 housekeeping that the family relied on.

Accustomed to living on her own, she now feels she has become a burden on her aunt after being forced to move in with her.

“Without a job, he could not send us anything. My biggest worry is how long I can remain a burden on my aunt, I have no idea what the future holds,” Safiya said.

Somali remittance companies, known as Hawalas, have indicated that the flow of money they used to transfer from abroad has greatly reduced,

especially over the past two months, due to the global economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The manager of the money transfer company Dahabshiil’s Lasanod branch, Abdiqani AwDahir Haji, confirmed that the cash sent from Somalis abroad through his branch has already reduced by one third. This has had a negative effect on the city’s residents and businesses, he noted

 



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