UWT in Somalia

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    Distributing Supplies

    21 October 2011

    Alhamdulillah, so far in Gargar camp, over 500 families have received new tents. Today in the same camp, 242 families received dry food rations weighing 45kg as well as kitchen utensils. The packs being distributed are very big masha Allah. While distributing the cards in the morning, we told women to bring another two people with them to ensure they can carry the full package home.

    Us and Them

    23 October 2011

    Two days ago we went to Banadir hospital to further understand what Somalia really is facing. Unsurprisingly the results were grim. We learnt that something simple such as regular clean sustenance could prevent many of the illnesses patients are afflicted with in the hospital.

    Today alhamdulilllah we went back to the hospital to distribute tickets to adult patients for the collection of UWT food rations, kitchen and washing utensils. A food pack contains 20kg of rice, 10kg of wheat flour, 3kg roasted grams, 24 packs of biscuits and 9 litres of oil; while enough kitchen and washing utensils are provided to deal with a family of 12 people.

    During assessments it was difficult looking at the patients in their sad plight. Subhanallah, malnourishment and dehydration had left many poor Muslims in the throes of death. While we in the UK suffer from illnesses and disease due to overeating (diabetes, heart disease), our brothers and sisters in Somalia were suffering due to having no food. Allah save us from our greed and excesses and give us understanding of our obligations in this world.

    ‘And those who hoard up gold and silver and spend them not in the way of Allah, announce to them a painful torment. On the Day when that Al Kanz (money, silver and gold, the Zakat which has not been paid) will be heated in the Fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks and their backs (and it will be said to them): “This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves and now taste of what you used to hoard.”’ - Verse 34-35, Surah Taubah

    Tomorrow inshallah we will distribute to around 250 patients. We ask everyone to make du’a that your aid reaches the poorest and most vulnerable tomorrow inshallah.

    Furthermore today we visited Madinah Hospital and arranged an agreement with the managers to provide cooked rice to its patients every single day inshallah.

    Banadir Hospital

    20 October 2011

    Banadir Hospital is the only Maternity and Child Health Hospital in Mogadishu. We visited it today as we had been informed that it was facing unprecedented queues of poor children waiting for treatment.

    Only after entering the hospital, did the scale of the famine finally dawn upon us. Women, children and the elderly were waiting, almost lifelessly, in the grounds, on the hospital floors, on the stairs, in the corridors and wherever else they could find space. The sick and needy were on intravenous drips, forced to be treated on the stairs, on the floors and even in the yard. There was just no space or facilities to treat the massive influx of sick people in Mogadishu.

    Most of the children were suffering from malnourishment, dehydration or diarrhoea. They were silent in their pain, burdening the hardships Allah had decreed for them. Subhanallah, we really do not know the extent to which Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala has tested these people.

    Speaking to Dr Sami Maysouni - the manager of the hospital – we learnt the following:

    · There is a severe shortage of medication in the hospital.

    · Many children, in the month of Ramadhan especially, had passed away because of diarrhoea.

    · Just today, an elderly woman passed away because there was no insulin.

    · Doctors do not operate because there is no anaesthetic.

    · Diarrhoea is extremely difficult to overcome because of the widespread use of dirty water – the only source of water for many.

    Following discussions, we were provided a list of medicines the hospital needed urgently.

    Alhamdulillah, following consultations with UWT staff, much-needed supplies including insulin will be added to the third plane due to land on Saturday insha Allah.

    UWT tents will also be pitched in the hospital grounds to provide some shade to patients waiting for treatment.

    Born in Difficulty

    19 October 2011

    The UWT team went back to an area where 62 families received tents, food supplies, kitchen and washing utensils. Here are some of the people the team met:

    Case Study: Hamdi, Musab & Mariam

    Hamdi arrived at the camp with her son Musab nine days ago. She came heavily pregnant with her second child. Subhanallah, with 1-2 months expected before the birth, Hamdi gave birth prematurely in extraordinary circumstances. Walking in the centre of Mogadishu, a car bomb went off around the block. The shock was so great that she collapsed and gave birth that day.

    Alhamdulillah, with your generosity, Hamdi received a new tent, food supplies for 6 weeks and kitchen and washing utensils. When the UWT team went to check on her, she was still facing much difficulty. Musab, at just one year of age, was severely ill with bronchitis while Mariam – her new born - was still in a very weak state.

    Looking at Musab was difficult to bear. Lying huddled beside her mother, he was coughing and groaning greatly. When we looked under the blanket, a deep rash was covering his chest. Subhanallah, he was only one year of age.

    Case Study: Zainab and Mustafa

    One of the worst situations we have come across so far concerned Zainab, who was four, and Mustafa, who was three. Both were severely disabled. They could not walk, talk or understand anything. Their eyesight was also severely impaired. They had an older sister, who was out at the time of our visit, who could walk, but had no use of her hand.

    Speaking to their father, Abdul Qadir Talib, we learnt that they have a very difficult life. The parents, as well as having to worry about food and shelter, had to tend to their needy children 24 hours a day. The children had never received any treatment and, prior to UWT’s intervention, would regularly go to sleep hungry.

    Allah’s Messenger Sallallahualaihi wasallam said, ‘Are you not helped and given sustenance except through your weak ones?’

    Case Study: Fatima Abu Bakr Hassan

    Fatima has just arrived at the camp and had no family and friends. She was brought from the Bakol region by her son to the camp, where she was left. Her son went back to Bakol to start farming as the rains have arrived.

    Muhammad Sallallahualaihi wasallam said, ‘He who does not honour our elderly nor show mercy to our young ones, then he is not from amongst us.’

    One or two families in the camp took pity on her and let her reside in their camp. She currently stays in a tent that holds 8 people. Residents said she was seventy years old, but she looked much older.

    One of Fatima’s carers said, ‘We were born in difficulty and have been living in difficulty all our lives.’

    Sowing the Seeds insha Allah

    18 October 2011

    Due to seriousness of the situation, followed inshallah by UWT’s unprecedented response, UWT has opened a new office in Mogadishu alhamdulillah.

    Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said, ‘There is no intellect as good as planning.’ Insha Allah from this office, emergency relief efforts will be coordinated and administered for the poor and needy across Somalia.

    We ask everyone to make du’aa that Allah uses the office for the good of the Ummah and insha Allah becomes a means of forgiveness for everyone involved in helping our brothers and sisters in Somalia.

    Today we also went to Gargar camp where we have started the distribution and pitching of another 330 tents. Subhanallah, we came across a site in the camp that brought much joy and hope to our hearts. Amidst all the difficulties that a believer faces, the words of Allah and commands will always be etched in his heart.

    Gargar camp has a Madrasah, with hifz classes for poor boys and girls. Despite the lack of Mushafs, children were still memorising the Qur’an on sheets of wood. Subhanallah it was amazing to see the next generation cementing their iman.

    The Second Plane Lands

    17th October 2011

    Alhamdulillah today we witnessed the arrival of the second cargo plane of emergency goods. The plane was laden with more food packs, tents and kitchen utensils. Alhamdulillah along with the goods from the first plane and inshallah from the third plane, today’s goods will be distributed in Gargar camp, south of Mogadishu. A camp with around 1000 families, it is a newly formed camp comprising families from the rural areas of Bay and Shabelle.

    Following surveys, each family in the camp will receive a comprehensive package: a durable tent, kitchen and washing utensils, dry food rations (weighing around 45kg) and gifts for the children insha allah.

    Alhamdulillah, due to the concern of donors in the UK, some respite can be provided to families in Somalia. It is amazing to see how Allah Subhahanu wa ta’ala answers the du’as of beleaguered Muslims in one part of the world by using means found in another part of the world.

    Allah’s Messenger Sallallahualaihi wasallam said, ‘Indeed to Allah belongs a certain creation whom he has created only for the need of mankind. People flock to them in their time of need. Indeed they (the helpers) will be in safety from the punishment from Allah.’ - Tabarani

    May Allah make us all helpers of his servants inshallah. Ameen.

    A Full UWT Package

    15th October 2011

    Allah’s Messenger Sallallahualaihi wa sallam said, ‘None of you can be a believer until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself.’ - Bukhari

    When blessings are so much in abundance, one becomes heedless of the Giver of those blessings and thus inevitably fails to show gratitude to Him. In the UK, we have food to the point that we can throw it away, we have clothes to the point that we can bin them if they go out of fashion, and we have shelter to the point that we can decide exactly how warm or cool we would like the house to be.

    Looking to the words of Muhammad Sallallahualaihi wasallam, Ummah Welfare Trust aims to provide shelter, food, clothing and utensils to as many families as possible in Somalia bi ‘ithnillah.

    Today was our initial distribution of a full UWT package. Targeting an overcrowded camp containing 62 families in southern Mogadishu, UWT provided tents, food, oil, bathroom and kitchen utensils alhamdulillah.

    In the morning, every single family in the camp saw their makeshift homes, constructed from twigs and cloth, replaced with a new durable UWT tent.

    Once the camp had its facelift, families were invited in the afternoon to UWT’s distribution centre to receive 45kg worth of food rations and much needed kitchen and bathroom utensils.

    Insha Allah tomorrow all the children in the camp will be provided with new toys and clothing, so maybe insha Allah they can experience a modicum of what our children are fortunate to experience every day.

    Case Study: Halima Haji Asma

    Halima Haji Asma lost her husband Ibrahim a few years ago. Left with eight children, she has endured a hard life in Lower Shabelle earning and acquiring what she could so her children could survive.

    The droughts this year deteriorated an already worsening situation for Halima. With her 8 children, she climbed a truck and headed for Mogadishu 3 months ago. She has been living in this camp since then. For food, she would wander camp to camp scraping what she could. Worse still, on some days, she would beg on the roadsides of Mogadishu.

    After receiving her UWT pack, Halima was grateful for the generosity and concern of Muslims from so far away and hoped Allah’s mercy will rain down upon them for their kindness.

    Case Study: Timoro Abdi Noor

    Timoro has been a widow for the past two years. She has five children and arrived from the Bay region to the camp a few months ago. She suffers from heart palpitations and struggles greatly under the intense sun. Often suffering from blackouts, like thousands of struggling mothers she faces a huge struggle each day to ensure her children are fed. The reliance on Allah for these people is so great subhanallah. They patiently accept whatever is decreed for them.

    Upon receiving her UWT aid, Timoro raised her hands to the skies, exclaiming, ‘Masha Allah, Masha Allah, Barakallahu Feek, Alhamdulillah…’

    ask all the people in the UK to make du’a that Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala keeps the UWT staff sincere and steadfast in aiding our noble Somali brothers and sisters inshallah.

    Distributions take off

    14 October 2011

    Following yesterday’s initial tent distribution, UWT scaled up the level of distribution today. The aim was to distribute 200 tents across other parts of the camp including Bulbul and Tigsade and Abdiboon.

    It was hot today on Yaum ul Jumu’ah but alhamdulillah the fieldworkers worked hard, helping the poor, the widows and the orphans. Throughout the day, UWT workers were out in the field ensuring as many families as possible received adequate shelter.

    Of the many beneficiaries today, here are the stories of a few:

    Case Study: Yareen Muhammad Abdi

    Yareen and three of her six children found themselves all alone in Gargar camp. They had no food, no water and no proper clothing to even cover themselves. She and her children had arrived from Baidoa three days ago. Her husband and three of her other children had split from her amidst the havoc of migrations occurring across Somalia.

    After being provided with a tent, the UWT team went to check on her. Subhanallah she had no belongings to place inside the tent. Her three sons were tired, hungry and ate once a day if they were lucky. Yareen’s youngest son, Ali Noor, at two years of age was severely malnourished. With his withered hair and emaciated body, he cried and cried. His terrible plight at such a tender age brought tears to the eyes of everyone.

    Ya Allah forgive us for leaving these blessed sons of Islam in such a wretched state.

    Case Study: Mariam Hanafi Ilmi

    Mariam, at 70 years of age, was another recipient of a UWT tent. She was from Lower Shabelle and had migrated to Mogadishu after neighbours had placed her on a truck heading that way.

    Mariam had no one. All her 5 children had died in differing circumstances and her extended family had left her. She was all alone in Gargar and survived on the pity of her neighbours in the camp. When asked how she sustains herself, she said, “What Allah has decreed for me, I take.” Upon receiving her new tent, she thanked Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala for all the donors in the UK and prayed for them.

    Case Study: Habiba Abdulllah Abdi

    Habiba was a widow from Bay and had arrived with her four children to Mogadishu two months ago. Another two of her children had previously died.

    After moving into her new tent, she said that her orphaned children needed clothing and regular meals. They survived by going camp to camp, salvaging whatever meals they could. On days when they could acquire no food, they accepted their fate and went hungry.

    We were reminded of Muhammad Sallallahualaihi wasallam’s words: ‘It is not becoming of a Muslim to sleep on a full stomach whilst those around him go hungry.’ – Bukhari

    Seeing the faces of Habiba’s orphans made us remember that Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala will ask us one day about how much we aided His servants and how much we helped His beloved.

    Habiba, in her steadfastness and resolve, made du’a for all those donors who helped provide her with a tent and hoped Allah would give them what they want in life insha Allah.

    At the end of today, we realised how deep the sufferings of this Ummah have gone, how deep the scars are and how deep are the sorrows of our mothers.

    We ask Allah to forgive our idleness, to forgive our ignorance, and to forgive our disloyalty to the Ummah of Muhammad Sallallahualaihi wasallam – the best of all Ummahs.

    Thursday 13 October 2011

    Distributions get underway

    We went back to the camp we assessed yesterday in southern Mogadishu. This time however we had to identify families who were suitable for the new durable tents that had been flown in on the first cargo plane.

    The conditions that families were currently living in were atrocious and well-made shelter was a definite requirement for these people. Visiting the sub-camps of Burgal, Goolweyne and Duruuf, 50 families were identified who the team felt desperately needed help. These families contained widows, orphans as well as disabled people.

    Distributions Underway - Somalia

    Distributions Underway - Somalia

    Following assessments and the distribution of cards, the tents were distributed to these needy families alhamdulillah. One of the beneficiaries was Ali Dahir Farih. A father from Gulguduud in central Somalia, he had fled to Mogadishu with his wife and three children due to continuous poverty. He was also an amputee having lost his right leg twenty years ago after a stray shell hit him. He and his family had lived in refugee camps in Mogadishu for five months before UWT met him. He was very happy receiving his tent and prayed to Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala to shower his mercy on the donors of the UK and give them much more than they had given him.

    Distributions Underway - Somalia

    Alhamdulillah, thanks to the generosity of our brothers and sisters in the UK, UWT also managed to help a widow named Maryam and her four orphaned children who were from Jowhar, Lower Shabelle. They had migrated along with their father because of the droughts. Tragically however, in Mogadishu Maryam’s husband was instantly killed after a stray bullet hit him in the head during fighting. Alhamdulillah, after she and her children received their new tent, she said, “We are so grateful that people from so far away have come to help us. Their only aim was to help. Their deeds are in our heart and we will never forget them inshallah.”

    Distributions Underway - Somalia

    The first 50 families will hopefully pave the way for mass distribution of tents in the next few weeks insha allah. We remember the noble words from Allah’s Messenger Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam when helping our brothers and sisters: ‘The believers in their love, mutual kindness and close ties are like one body; when any part complains, the whole body responds with wakefulness and fever.’ - Muslim

    Wednesday 12 October 2011

    The Reality on the Ground

    Reality on the Ground - Somalia

    We visited the Al-Islam refugee camp in southern Mogadishu. A newly established camp – being barely 2 months old – was full of refugees from Gedo, Baidoa, and Kisamao and Bakool. The camp held around 2,000 people and, as is so common throughout East Africa at the moment, the majority of its residents were women and children. The families were farmers and herders forced to move solely because of the drought. The camp was essentially 15 sub-camps combined. Each sub-camp had a chairman who was usually a village elder from where the refugees had come.

    May Allah forgive us, the conditions here for the Muslims are very grim. It had rained the night before, devastating many of the flimsy houses that the refugees had constructed for themselves. Following rains in the night, families would have to construct their homes again the next day. Subhanallah the irony is that if these families were still in their rural areas, they would welcome the rains rather than fear them like they do now.

    The camp also, despite being new, has not received any food hand outs from any NGOs. Mothers have to send their children to beg on the streets of Mogadishu and scavenge what they can for their families. Fathers and elderly males either seek work in the city as porters or as manual labourers. For water, a trough had been dug into the ground by the refugees and a cloth placed over so they could catch as much rainwater as possible.

    Most of the refugees the UWT team met today had not eaten that day or even the day before. Last night at least 4 children had died due to hunger. The camp was experiencing an average of 3 to 4 child deaths every single day. Subhanallah, due to the regularity, the residents were indifferent and one remarked that it is a way of life here. May these deaths, if anything, be means of paradise for these mothers of Islam inshallah.

    Another concern was the issue of the Iman of these people. Due to the displacement and instability which had fractured the lives of these poor Muslims, children were not reading the Qur’an anymore or receiving any form of Islamic instruction. Men of learning were few and despite the size of the camp, congregational salah would not take place. Children now wander around all day, missing out on all the tarbiyyah (good upbringing) they would receive if they had not migrated.

    The team came across Farhan Hassan, a 4 year old orphan. His father was killed by a stray bullet during a skirmish between the different factions. Farhan also had two sisters, Siham and Sabira. Looking at them and their condition broke our hearts. We really are heedless of the plight of the Ummah.

    More tragic than anything we saw in Al-Islam camp, was the fact that this was one of the better camps in the country. It was relatively stable and the death rate, though considerable, were lower than in other camps. If poor Muslims were content with the conditions we saw today, one cannot imagine the conditions they must be fleeing from. May Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala give the people of Somalia steadfastness and remedy their plight inshallah. Ameen.

    Tuesday 11 October 2011

    Unloading The Cargo In Mogadishu

    Unloading Cargo - Somalia

    Today we started early and went to the airport to collect the cargo from the plane. We arrived and started unloading the aid from the plane into the trucks. Alhamdulillah the amount was considerable and even we did not expect the length of time it would take to unload all the material. We initially had brought 2 to 3 very large trucks to transport the goods to our warehouse. The amount however surpassed our expectations and we had to call in two more trucks to collect everything.

    The packs we were giving out were very big alhamdulillah. The tough Somali fieldworkers were struggling to carry pack after pack. Each pack contained 20kg of rice, 10kg of wheat flour, 24 packets of biscuits and 3kg of roasted grams. Nine litres of oil were also given out with each pack alhamdulillah. After several hours and a few delays, all the goods were finally offloaded. Alhamdulillah it was a great sight to see all the trucks fully loaded in the heart of Mogadishu. These trucks are there to help some of the poorest Muslims in the world and all because of the generosity of our Muslim brothers and sisters in the UK was this possible. May Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala accept all of their efforts.

    Monday 10 October 2011

    Touch down in Mogadishu

    Touch Down - Somalia

    Today subhanallah was a very long day. We boarded the cargo plane at 6:30am, having spent the night in the boarding area at Islamabad airport.

    The plane, alhamdulillah was packed with UWT emergency goods and was so full that there was hardly enough room for its seven passengers to sit down. One of the seven passengers accompanying us was the Somalia ambassador to Pakistan, Ali Abdullah. The planes purpose was to fly out 40 tonnes of emergency aid to our brothers and sisters in Africa.

    The flight was terribly long and included a two hour stop-over in Fujira in the UAE. We arrived in Mogadishu 11 hours later.

    Mogadishu is unlike anything we could expect. The place is surreal with checkpoints every 50 yards inhibiting normal movement. The city is obsessed with security and yet strangely lawlessness exists everywhere. We met Shaykh Yasin and his team in Mogadishu, The warmth and hospitality showed to us by his team was amazing. Tomorrow inshallah, we are hoping to unload the relief goods from the trucks.

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