Minnesota’s Somali community extends aid to people displaced from East Africa floods
The Somali community in Minnesota is sending relief to loved ones in East Africa as severe floods sweep through the area.
Heavy rainfall and flash flooding in East Africa are causing devastation for more than half a million people who were displaced in Somalia in recent weeks.
Food insecurity is growing, roads have become rivers and at least 130 people have died in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
“I’m seeing the floods. I’m seeing the bridge is breaking down. It actually triggers me, so I tend to not watch,” said Fartun Weli, Isuroon founder and CEO.
Weli has family back in Somalia. She learned this morning the floods left them stranded.
“She [Grandma] was asking to get more money expedited, so I told her we’re fine. We’ll send money today and be safe,” she said.
Through her organization, Isuroon, she helps support Somali and East African families in Minnesota.
Families are sending more money back to their loved ones to address growing food insecurity and other challenges.
When disaster strikes, the Somali community in Minnesota says it’s second nature to help — no matter the cost.
“We send all the money back home and then here, we’re not able to purchase food,” she said. “Our food shelf, for example, it’s getting dried out faster.”
ARAHA is a nonprofit organization in the Twin Cities dedicated to helping people experiencing crisis in the Horn of Africa.
There are two offices on the ground providing updates to the Minnesota branch.
“The situation is so bad that in some areas there is no way even to bring the food to them because you have to drop it through a helicopter,” ARAHA Executive Director Mohamad Idris said. “The situation is devastating.”
For five consecutive seasons, the area has been suffering through a drought worsening food insecurity.
“When a situation like this [happens], and then you get another disaster before even you recover from the first one, it’s really difficult,” Idris said.
But with every crisis comes resiliency. Weli said the support within the community is strong and they’ll get through it together.
“That’s why immigrants and refugees are very resilient people. We do so much for each other,” Weli said. “I’m so grateful to the people I’m born from and we’re going to do well.”
Isuroon and ARAHA are accepting donations to help the lingering crisis in East Africa.