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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid