The day I lost my hand

12 year od Shucaab Ahmed Hirse lives in the village of Xariiyaale in the central Hiraan region of Somalia.

His life changed forever in May 2014, when he stumbled across an intriguing object under a tree. He called for his sister Marayan to come and see the strange new thing, and struck it with a stick to see what would happen, causing it to explode.

Both Shucaab and Maryan sustained multiple injuries. Their family rushed them to the nearest hospital a 90 minute drive away, but it was too late to save Shucaab’s right hand and it was amputated.

Today Shucaab tries to articulate the effect losing his hand has had on his young life. He has had to learn to write all over again. Other children make fun of him. Basic daily activities that we all take for granted, such as eating, now pose problems for the 12 year old.

Shucaab and Marayan’s accident in 2014 is just one of many painfully sad events that are occurring across Somalia every month. Though there has been a gradual and welcome downward trend in accidents (graph below) the statistics suggests that accident rates remain stubbornly high. In 2015 alone there have been 42 victims of accidents across southern Somalia and it is clearly seen in the table, below, that 78% of all the innocent victims are children. 


In 2015, an UNMAS – HALO Japanese funded project began surveying and recording Explosive Remnants of War in communities like Shucaab and Marayan’s. Once surveyed, these hazards will be cleared and destroyed, helping to stop accidents like these happening again.