News / Africa

Increasing Number of Somalis Fleeing Insecurity, Hunger

Masked Somali national army (SNA) soldiers search through homes for al-Shabaab fighters, during an operation in Ealsha Biyaha, Somalia, Saturday, June, 2, 2012.
Masked Somali national army (SNA) soldiers search through homes for al-Shabaab fighters, during an operation in Ealsha Biyaha, Somalia, Saturday, June, 2, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
GENEVA - The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says insecurity and lack of food continue to drive a large number of Somalis to flee their homes.

The UNHCR reports that around 146,000 Somalis have left their homes this year, as the country struggles with another poor rainy season and continued fighting between pro-government forces and militant group al-Shabab.

The agency says many of the displaced have settled in areas around Dobley and Diif, close to the Kenyan border.  It says many are now integrated with host communities, while others have settled on the outskirts of the towns.  It says displacements follow a similar pattern around the Dollow, Gedo region bordering Ethiopia.

The UNHCR says the number of Somali refugees also is increasing.  As of this week, it says, more than 157,000 Somali refugees are sheltering in five camps and a transit center at Dollo Ado in Ethiopia.  Since the beginning of this month, Somali refugees have continued to arrive at an average rate of 1,200 every week.  

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards says the displacement and refugee crisis caused by last summer's regional drought has not diminished.  

"The displacement remains a major problem.  We have in the region more than 900,000 displaced people inside Somalia itself - estimates are 1.3 million or slightly above that, I believe," said Edwards. "So the factors of concern are still very much there."

These factors include poor seasonal rains, resulting in food insecurity.  The UNHCR says people are moving to different towns in search of water and pasture.  It says many people are leaving their homes because they are unable to provide for themselves.

Al-Shabab has become a weakened force on the battlefield and has largely left the Somali capital, Mogadishu.  Nevertheless, Edwards says al-Shabab remains a potent threat to people living under its control in southern Somalia.   

"People do continue to cite the fear of forced recruitment by al-Shabab and al-Shabab, as you probably know, has to a large degree moved from Mogadishu itself," said Edwards. "And, that, in itself, has caused different displacement patterns, with more people coming to Mogadishu now than we have seen previously.  Access to many of these areas by humanitarian agencies remains difficult."   

Edwards says many new refugees arrive in Ethiopia with all of their belongings, including donkey carts and whatever livestock they still possess.   Many say other family members and neighbors in Somalia intend to follow.

The UNHCR spokesman says existing refugee camps are running out of space.  So, his agency and Ethiopian authorities have agreed to extend the capacity of the Buramino camp to above 25,000, while a site for a sixth camp is being selected.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid