News / Africa

Somali Refugees Seeking Safe Haven in Southern Ethiopia

A refugee woman from southern Somalia attends to her malnourished child in their makeshift shelter in a refugee camp in Mogadishu, Somalia, Aug. 6, 2011
A refugee woman from southern Somalia attends to her malnourished child in their makeshift shelter in a refugee camp in Mogadishu, Somalia, Aug. 6, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

Somalis fleeing drought and famine are seeking shelter in the capital, Mogadishu, as well as in the neighboring countries of Kenya and Ethiopia.

In northeastern Kenya, hundreds of thousands of Somalis are at the Dadaab refugee camps, while in southeastern Ethiopia, many thousands have gathered near the town of Dolo Ado, where there’s an overcrowded transit center. UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration are relocating refugees to nearby camps.

“That’s going very well. We’re on the fifth day of the operation. We’re moving some 15,000 refugees that have been in the transit center to a new camp that was opened on Friday,” said UNHCR spokesperson Milicent Mutuli, who’s in Addis Ababa.

The new camp is located at Hilaweyn. “We’ve been able to move at least a thousand refugees every day,” she said.

The numbers are falling

Fewer Somalis are crossing into Kenya, according to UNHCR.

“The situation in Ethiopia has actually steadied in the last two weeks. Just over a month ago, we had arrival rates of up to 2,000 people per day. But in the last few days, we’ve been seeing an average of 200 to 300 people per day,” she said.

While the numbers of new arrivals are declining, there are many Somalis already in camps in Ethiopia.

“There are still over a hundred thousand people in the camps in Dolo Ado in southeastern Ethiopia. Nearly 80,000 of these people have come in this year alone,” said Mutuli.

Measles

UNICEF and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health are lending support to a vaccination campaign following a suspected measles outbreak among children.

“In general terms,” said Mutuli, “measles is not a killer disease…at least not in a healthy population. However, our big concern here is, apart from the fact that measles is highly contagious, it is in a population that is extremely fragile. It’s in a population where malnutrition rates are extremely high.”

That means the disease could easily become a killer. “Mortality could be very high," she said.

Mutuli said, “One of the challenges in the response to the outbreak is that the refugees are not in the habit of seeking medical attention for the sick.”

She explained, “I think it goes back to Somalia and just the absolute breakdown of services due to 20 years of conflict…. And so when they come into the camps they still are not aware of services that are available and that they can seek consultation for somebody who is sick.”

Somali refugees are being encouraged to bring any sick friends or family members to the camps’ health centers.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid