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Somali refugees fleeing femine flood Ethiopia

Posted on Thursday, 7 July 2011 17:50

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) on Thursday said it has opened a new camp inside Ethiopia to accommodate thousands of refugees fleeing drought and infighting in Somalia.

“This is the third camp for Somalis in southeast Ethiopia and the sixth in the country. At present Ethiopia hosts 130,000 Somali refugees,” UNCHR said.

According to reports, around 1,600 Somali refugees are arriving in Ethiopia every day.

Early this week, the UN said about 10 million people in the Horn of Africa need emergency food assistance due to the drought ravaging the region.

“As of yesterday we had transported 7,500 Somali refugees from the transit centre at Dollo Ado to the camp at Kobe, which can accommodate up to 20,000 people,” the UNCHR added.

“However, with the mass influx continuing there is significant congestion at the reception and transit centres and Kobe is expected to reach full capacity in a matter of days.”

The agency said Ethiopian authorities had already allocated land for a fourth camp near Kobe.

UNCHR said with the help of its partners it had started expanding basic infrastructure including water and sanitation services, a health center, schools and basic communal facilities.

“We are also receiving reports that people displaced by drought, lack of food and insecurity in the Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions are arriving in Mogadishu in search of food and other humanitarian assistance,” the agency said.

UNHCR said it was prepared to provide further assistance in southern Somalia as long as minimum security, accountability and transparency requirements were met.

There are now more than 750 000 Somali refugees living in the region, mostly in neighbouring countries.

Kenya has 405 000, Yemen (187 000) and Ethiopia (130 000).

Another 1.46 million are displaced within Somalia.

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