Somalia's Famine Refugees Celebrate Eid al-Fitr to Mark the End of Ramadan

It has been a hard fought struggle for Somalis over the past few months due to the continuous drought and current famine in the region. But this has not stopped them from celebrating the end of Ramadan this past Tuesday. As many families have fled to United Nations refugee camps on the Ethiopian-Somali border, many are counting their blessings one step at a time.Found in Associate Press' article, Quresho Mohmoud Dahir counted her blessings saying, "all her children were alive. They had food. They were safe." This is a family that will eat well on Eid al-Fitr as they had two stacks of corn and a ration of beans they received from the camp, which they are ever so grateful for. Her background story is touching just like the millions that fled their homes due to war and famine and found comfort in the refugee camps that were set up for them.

Dahir and her family have surely been through many struggles as they are now receiving food from the camps instead of providing a feast for friends and family as they normally would during this joyous occasion for Muslims. She is thankful lady, "Thank Allah that we were welcomed here and given food and we are safe, we are blessed. So many people helped us along the way." Even though conditions aren't the greatest, as she sits in her she is making due with what she has, like her makeshift tent in a refugee camp of Dolo.

The U.N., the Italian government, and many other foundations have provided food, vaccinations and malaria medicine for those suffering from the famine. Local charities are also providing young students with teachers and utensils to ensure their education this long stretch of struggle.

By continuing on with tradition and celebrating Eid, many families believe that this year they will remember this holiday the most. Antonio Guteeres, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees states, "solidarity with people in need is very much a part of today's celebration, that solidarity should inspire first of all Somalis to allow access to those in need...and should also inspire the international community to be more engaged."

Since the famine has begun the U.N. estimates that approximately 3.7 million people are currently suffering from famine in five different regions of Somalia. Famine also suppressing the likes of Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya, many say the situation is the most grim in Somalia become of the Islamist rebels that are fighting to keep the U.N. out.

East Africans will continue to celebrate Eid al-Fitr no matter how little food they have. All are just thankful they have a make-shift roof over their head and a small ration of food to eat.

Photo: Teseum