Conflicts & War

Terrorism, climate disasters, famine hamper Somalia’s Covid-19 response

By Muktar Abdi and Irene Escudero

Mogadishu/Nairobi, Jun 5 (efe-epa).- Despite the pandemic, the hustle and bustle does not stop on the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia’s most populous city, which is facing a growing number of coronavirus infections and deaths.

The only hospital equipped to treat coronavirus patients is already overwhelmed as cases rise in the country located on the Horn of Africa.

Somalia has recorded over 2,200 Covid-19 cases and some 80 deaths to date. A lack of testing means the true number of cases is likely higher.

“People are afraid to share their health status because they feel ashamed in public, which is why we are not getting the real figure,” Somali doctor Mohamed Abshir explains to Efe.

On the street, where pedestrians walk without masks, the atmosphere has not changed much since the outbreak began.

“Since the lockdown, our business facilities are functioning well and our daily retails are decreasing, which is badly impacting our economic status,” Abshir Gab, a merchant from Mogadishu, says.

Most of the capital’s 2.5 million residents are seemingly oblivious to the pandemic, particularly those living on the outskirts of Mogadishu, many of them internally displaced by drought, flooding, terrorism or war. 

“We depend on daily casual work to cover our daily income,” Maruan Sheikh Adan, who is an environmental migrant, tells Efe.

There is some good news though. The price of basic goods and medicines has stabilized after the government imposed a tax exemption on imported goods.

The bad news is that Somalia has one of the most precarious health systems in the world, burdened by decades of conflict.

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