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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

'Exceptionally Lucky' US Boy Survives Flight in Wheel Well

The boy was unconscious for most of the flight, and appeared to be unharmed after enduring the extremely cold temperatures and lack of oxygen More

US Anti-Corruption Law Snags Major Tech Company

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in December, 1977 More

Cameron Criticized for Calling UK 'Christian Country'

Letter from scientists, academics and writers says the prime minister is fostering division by repeatedly referring to England as a 'Christian country' 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid