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Last Updated: Friday, 5 November, 2004, 13:18 GMT
Floods hit Somali leper community
By Mohamed Olad Hassan
BBC correspondent in Mogadishu

Some 480 lepers in Somalia's southern Jubba region are reportedly in danger after floods destroyed their houses.

At least 15 members of Faragurow village, including six children, have died of hunger and diarrhoea following the floods, a local doctor has said.

"Fifty others are suffering from malaria as they live out doors as rains washed away their shanty houses," Dr Sayid Abukar said.

People in Faragurow have told the BBC their condition is horrific.

'No hope'

"We don't have food, medicine and shelter and no one is going to help us," Haliima Awil Samow, a mother of six children - all of them lepers - told me.

"We need help. We had a very low harvest in the past because of bad rains and now it has been completely washed out by floods," Haashi Siyad, the leader of the leper village near the town of Jilib, told me by phone.

"We have been left without hope."

Faragurow was originally set up in 1925 by Italian colonial administrators as a place where lepers could live in safety and receive treatment.

The government continued to take care of the lepers until civil war tore the country apart in 1991.

"Those that could, escaped, but most of us could not. We need medical treatment, we have been forgotten by the outside world," said Mr Siyad.

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