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Crumbling Church Offers Safe Haven for Somalia's Hungry

A general view shows the deserted ruins of the old Cathedral church in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, (File)

More than 100,000 people have fled into Somalia's famine-hit and war-torn capital in the past few months in search of food, water and medicine.

With camps now overcrowded, some have sought refuge in the crumbling shell of a cathedral, built by Italian colonial authorities in the 1920s but destroyed in years of bloody civil war.

The Italians have been gone for a long time and the church has been, over the years, left in disrepair. The doors and windows are all gone. The walls crumbling, but gives a little bit of shelter, a little bit of shade from the sun and the wind and the elements.

A few families that have come here, most of them walking 200 kilometers over a long stretch of days, have lost many people. But those still here, the survivors, are trying their best against all odds to survive.

They are getting nothing more than a few handouts from the local people, so they are in a bad way. But they say at least, whatever they can get from Mogadishu businessmen is a little more than what they had out in the famine-stricken regions of southern Somalia.