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The United Nations refugee agency says security continues to
deteriorate in Somalia. At the same time, it says poverty is
increasing as prolonged drought is destroying ways to make a living in
Instability and the devastating effects of prolonged
drought are causing tens of thousands of Somalis to take to their feet
in search of a safe refuge.
The U.N. refugee agency reports
deadly clashes between government forces and rebel groups have forced
about one-quarter of a million Somalis to flee the capital, Mogadishu
It says most have sought refuge in the Afgooye
corridor, some 30 kilometers west of Mogadishu. This area now is home
to more than 534,000 internally displaced people.
security may be better, UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic says their
living conditions are deplorable. He says they are living in makeshift
sites in squalid conditions.
And, he notes humanitarian
organizations have great difficulty in reaching them with much needed
assistance. He says thousands of other Somalis are exploring
alternative escape routes.
"The deteriorating security situation
and prolonged drought in Somalia are forcing more people to flee
further a-field into the neighboring countries and beyond," said
Mahecic. "Some of them are making the journey across the Gulf of Aden
and the Red Sea trying to reach Yemen and the Mediterranean Sea to get
Mahecic says not all of them make it to their destination.
week, as reported, 16 people died and 49 others went missing, presumed
drowned in the Gulf of Aden," he said. "Since January, a total of 924
boats and over 46,700 people have made the journey to Yemen from the
Horn of Africa. So far this year, 322 others are known to have drowned
or went missing at sea and are presumed dead."
thousands of desperate Somalis continue to risk their lives and use
unscrupulous smugglers to make the perilous journey across the Gulf of
The UNHCR says Somalia is one of the world's biggest
producers of refugees and internally displaced people. The agency
provides protection and assistance to more than one-half million Somali
refugees in the nearby countries of Kenya, Yemen, Ethiopia, Djibouti