News / Africa

UNHCR: Ethiopia Hosts More Refugees Than Any African Country

A woman and her children displaced by fighting in South Sudan sit outside her tent at the Kule camp for Internally Displaced People at the Pagak border crossing in Gambella, Ethiopia, July 10, 2014.
A woman and her children displaced by fighting in South Sudan sit outside her tent at the Kule camp for Internally Displaced People at the Pagak border crossing in Gambella, Ethiopia, July 10, 2014.
Lisa Schlein

The U.N. refugee agency reports Ethiopia now hosts more refugees than any other country in Africa, supplanting its neighbor, Kenya.  The UNHCR says the main factor is the huge influx of refugees from conflict-ridden South Sudan.

UNHCR reports by the end of July, Ethiopia was sheltering almost 630,000 registered refugees, including nearly one-quarter of a million refugees from South Sudan.  The agency says most of them, nearly 190,000, have fled into Ethiopia since war erupted in their country in mid-December.
 
Besides the South Sudanese, the UNHCR reports Ethiopia also is hosting 245,000 Somalis and nearly 100,000 Eritreans.
 
Kenya, in comparison, is hosting about 575,000 registered refugees, the majority of them Somalis.
 
Spokesman Adrian Edwards said the UNHCR, partner agencies and the Ethiopian government were providing protection and humanitarian aid at 23 refugee camps and five transit sites across Ethiopia.
 
He said camps were overcrowded due to the ongoing influx of refugees -- about 25,000 new arrivals each month.  He noted three camps opened early this year have reached their limit, so two new camps were being established.
 
Edwards said bad weather has complicated the situation for 18,000 refugees who are living in three temporary sites in the western region of Gambella.
 
“In recent weeks, heavy rain has, however, flooded three of the low-lying sites in this areas as well as Leitchuor Camp, where the situation is most serious.  Some 10,000 refugees, about one-fifth of Leitchuor’s population of 47,500 have been hit by flooding.  Many tents and shelters are under water and latrines have collapsed,” he said.
 
Edwards said the flooding was causing health concerns.  He said the heavy rains were threatening to undermine gains made in preventing the outbreak of waterborne diseases.
 
“Much of the refugee population arriving in neighboring countries has been children throughout this crisis.  They have particular vulnerabilities.  We have stepped up measures to contain Hepatitis E among South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia.  The disease has spread across South Sudan over the last two years and it has now appeared in the border camps in Ethiopia,” he said.
 
Edwards said since April, 12 refugees have died from Hepatitis E, a viral disease that causes liver failure and is spread by fecal contamination of water supplies or food.
 
The UNHCR was working with the Ethiopian government, WHO and other partners to try to contain the disease, Edwards said.  Improvement to  sanitation in the camps is also in the works after latrines were flooded he said, adding that this was adding to the increased risk of water-borne disease outbreaks.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs