In Somalia, the number of displaced
people is now estimated to be more than one and a half million. The
latest figure comes from the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR.
Nairobi, UNHCR spokesperson Roberta Russo says, "The number increased…mainly
because of the insecurity and the fighting that has been in Mogadishu that
started in May and displaced over a quarter of a million people."
Slow down, speed up
Earlier this year, the agency reported
a slowdown in the exodus from the capital.
had a very high rate of displacement during May and June. And the rate
decreased during July and August. But
still the numbers are quite high because since the first of July…we had 95,000
people who got displaced from their homes.
And out of this, 77,000 were displaced from Mogadishu," she says.
of the population of Mogadishu is now believed to have fled the city, most to
the Afgooye corridor, about 30 kilometers from the city.
home at the moment to 524,000 internally displaced people."
Conditions are appalling
"One of the main reasons is that the
humanitarian agencies are finding it very difficult to reach out to these
people, to access them, because of the insecurity," she says.
Afgooye, there's a lack of clean water, medical facilities, sanitation and
they need everything," she says.
many know conditions are poor in Afgooye, it remains the main destination of
the displaced from Mogadishu.
people don't have the money and the opportunity to flee to further places. We're seeing that some people are even
displaced from their homes in Mogadishu, but they're settling in other areas of
the capital city, which are relatively safer.
These are the most desperate people, who can't get money to pay their
transport,' she says.
Others trying to cross the border
seeing more and more that the Somalis fleeing from Mogadishu are trying to…find
refuge in Kenya mainly but also a high number into Yemen and Ethiopia," she says.
to get to Yemen, many Somalis and Ethiopian refugees hire smugglers to try to
sneak them across the Gulf of Aden. Many
drown in the attempt, often because the smugglers throw them overboard.
year around the month of Ramadan the rate of people trying to cross into Yemen
increases. And now, we have already over
38,000 people who crossed into Yemen since the beginning of the year," she
Too many people, too little space
Somalis are already refugees in Kenya.
And those who manage to cross the border are often sent to the Dadaab
calls conditions there worrying.
is not enough land where the new arrivals can settle. So, Dadaab…a camp designed to host a few
thousand people, is now home to almost 300,000 refugees. So all the basic
facilities are not enough to serve such a high population," she says.
Since many of the new arrivals are not
given land to set up shelter, they move in with other Somali families. As a result, the refugee agency is unable to
get an accurate registration, which is needed to provide humanitarian