Somali family recovering with the help of Utica agencies after apartment fire

What is wrong with this picture?

From the Utica Observer-Dispatch (hat tip: Joanne):

Apartment with nine kids in it catches fire when Mom goes shopping, but, although Mom has been here since 2006, she can’t speak enough English to deal with this emergency.

Somali mom (Do I detect a baby bump? Or, just a lot of fabric?). Photo: Mark DiOrio / Observer-Dispatch


On Feb. 22, Johara Abdi came home to a nightmare.

Her Adrean Terrace apartment was on fire with her 4-year-old daughter Halima Haji still inside.

And the Somali-Bantu refugee didn’t know enough English to communicate with emergency responders.

“I went to go shopping. When I get here, I see a lot of fire,” Abdi said through an interpreter. “I couldn’t (communicate). It was very difficult life for me.”

Emergencies, such as fires, are terrible situations for anyone, especially for refugees and immigrants who speak little or no English.

A five bedroom apartment!  Can you imagine what that cost someone!

Abdi and her nine children, ages 2 to 17, were displaced from the five-bedroom apartment at 64 W. Adrean Terrace, by the fire, which originated in the kitchen.

Temporarily living in a four bedroom place while housing authority renovates them a bigger place.  How many bedrooms did they have in Somalia?

The Municipal Housing Authority has found them a new apartment and is in the process of renovating in, said authority consultant Bob Calli. “We’re shooting for the middle of the month to move them into the apartment.”

Until then, they are living in a four-bedroom apartment, and space is at a premium.

Then get this, the Dad isn’t living with the family because there isn’t enough room.  Or, could he have another wife in town?  Is there ever any curiosity by reporters and editors when they hear a line like that?  With nine kids (the youngest is 2!), clearly he found some time to stop by, but not enough time to be around to save the kids from a fire.

Abdi’s husband, Omar Dhume, works a minimum-wage job and is learning English. The money he earns is not enough for the family to get a larger apartment or house, and there’s not enough room for him to live with his family, he said.

This article is about the one little girl who was injured, but is recovering (who is paying her medical bills?), and Mom is worried about her.

What’s going to happen?” Abdi asked. “Will she grow up a normal person, will she have mental problems? As a mom, I feel like she’s not the same as other kids.”

No comment.

Utica is one of New York state’s most “welcoming” cities.  I looked up all the stats for NY, and do plan to post on the numbers one of these days!  The city has taken 5,095 refugees since 2001.

Oh, great, there is more.  They are teaching the kids a Somali language and Arabic in Utica, here.

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