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STORY: A dedicated humanitarian brings relief to

needy Somalis
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DATELINE: 18/AUG/2017, MOGADISHU, SOMALIA

A dedicated humanitarian brings relief to needy Somalis


Abdikadir Moalim Mohamed has devoted his adult life to bettering the lives of
other human beings. In the end, what matters is what you have done for
mankind, says the veteran humanitarian aid worker.
That dedication to service has put Mohamed in harms way on many
occasions over the past 25 years. He has endured physical danger, harsh
weather conditions, and the exhaustion of long journeys to deliver assistance
to impoverished Somalis in many remote parts of the country.
Being an aid worker is difficult and risky. You are never sure whether you will
live to see another day, because many times you venture into very dangerous
places to deliver aid to people in need, he notes.
Some of those areas were under Al-Shabaabs control, but the presence of
violent extremists has never weakened his determination to distribute food to
destitute families.
One time I was arrested and interrogated by Al-Shabaab. I was lucky
because I was saved by one militant who urged his colleagues to set me
free, Mohamed says. I have never been so scared in my life.
Another risky intervention that I will never forget happened in 2013, in the
Middle Shabelle region, he continues. We crossed a river infested with
crocodiles in a rickety boat under the pouring rain. But we managed to deliver
relief supplies to flood victims.
He traces his commitment to humanitarian work to the widespread human
suffering he witnessed during the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in 1991,
which triggered the civil war.
Mohamed and some colleagues founded a non-governmental organization
(NGO) called Iftiin, which means light in Somali. The NGO has focused its
efforts on delivering aid to thousands of internally displaced persons, who
were forced to abandon their homes by adverse weather conditions and food
scarcity.
It was our compatriots hopelessness that compelled us to start Iftiin, he
explains. In 2012, our immediate concern was to help the most desperate
cases encountered daily on the streets. Insecurity was still rife at the time and
access to relief services scarce.
Over the years, Mohameds experience in humanitarian work and the
resilience of his team members spurred a rapid expansion of the organization.
Today, Iftiin has offices in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Gaalkacyo, and Garowe.
We respond to humanitarian emergencies, but also focus on development,
recovery and rehabilitation, Mohamed remarks.
Iftiin partnered with the Government and local and international NGOs to
coordinate humanitarian work at the height of the 2016 drought that
devastated the country. While those efforts saved millions of lives, Mohamed
insists that more still needs to be done to sustain help to needy families.
The situation has improved, but people are still dying in areas like Bay and
Bakool. People in parts of Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle regions do not have
water, despite the onset of the rains, he notes.
A report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs highlights the persistence of acute humanitarian needs in much of
Somalia that require urgent attention to alleviate the suffering of over six
million people, including children.

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