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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
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.

All About America

AppleAndroid