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Swelling Refugee Flows Stress Ethiopia Aid Camp

  • Peter Cobus

Dollo Ado refugee camp has seen 300 arrivals per day in recent weeks, Ethiopia, July 2011 (file photo).

Dollo Ado refugee camp has seen 300 arrivals per day in recent weeks, Ethiopia, July 2011 (file photo).

Medical aid group Doctors Without Borders says it is struggling to keep up with the increased number of refugees entering Ethiopia from war and famine-stricken Somalia.

The group said Wednesday the number of Somalis entering the Dollo Ado refugee camp in Ethiopia has increased to about 300 per day in recent weeks - a level not seen since the height of the famine in July.

The organization says it does not have enough latrines, shelter or drinking water for the thousands more who are expected to enter the camp in coming weeks.

It is asking other aid agencies to help speed up the opening of a new camp at the site, and calling on Ethiopia's government to continue facilitating imports of key supplies.

Meanwhile, the United Nations says that because of fighting in Sudan's Blue Nile state, it expects increasing numbers of Sudanese to enter Ethiopia.

The U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday that it now expects a total of 50,000 Sudanese to arrive in Ethiopia by year's end. The agency estimates that 28,000 refugees have crossed the border from Sudan just since the beginning of September.

Ethiopia began receiving large numbers of Somalis earlier this year, as a regional drought intensified.

Doctors Without Borders says nearly all of the newest Somali refugees say they left Somalia because of food shortages or the insecurity caused by the Kenyan military incursion into Somalia to hunt down al-Shabab insurgents.

Last week, the U.N. refugee agency said the recent military activity along the Kenya-Somalia border was forcing more Somali refugees to flee to Ethiopia instead of Kenya.

The organization said approximately 3.7 million Somalis are still in need of emergency food aid as a result of the region's worst drought in decades. Six regions of southern Somalia have been declared famine zones.