News / Africa

Fleeing Conflict, Somali Refugees Strain Ethiopia

Somali refugees line up to register at one of the refugee camps in the southeastern Dollo Ado region of Ethiopia on July 7, 2011. Up to 2,000 Somali refugees arrive daily at the registration office.
Somali refugees line up to register at one of the refugee camps in the southeastern Dollo Ado region of Ethiopia on July 7, 2011. Up to 2,000 Somali refugees arrive daily at the registration office.
Lisa Schlein
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) reports the Dollo Ado complex in southeastern Ethiopia cannot keep pace with the continued influx of new refugees from Somalia.

Last week, its population surpassed the 170,000 mark.  This, says U.N. refugee spokesman Andrej Mahecic, makes Dollo Ado the world's second largest refugee complex after the Dadaab site in Kenya.

"Although the rate of arrivals at Dollo Ado has slowed this year, people are continuing to flee conflict and insecurity in southern and central parts of Somalia," Mahecic said. "Many cite fear of harassment and forced recruitment by armed groups who still control large rural areas of Somalia... Their most urgent needs are emergency shelter, food and essential aid items," he said. 

Ethiopia increasingly appears to be the destination of choice for Somali refugees, according to the UNHCR.  It notes more than 25,000 of the estimated 62,000 Somalis who fled to countries in the region between January and the end of September headed for Ethiopia.

More than a million Somali refugees are already scattered across the Horn of Africa.  To fully understand the magnitude of the Somali refugee crisis, one must realize that in the past decade, only the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq forced more than a million people to flee their homes.

More than half a million Somali refugees are in Kenya, while Ethiopia now hosts 214,000.  The refugees are living in five overcrowded camps in Dollo Ado. A sixth site is being set up between the town of Kole and Kobe camp, some 54 kilometers north of Dollo Ado town, said Mahecic.

"The cost of the opening of the new site, setting up basic services and infrastructure including medical, education and warehousing facilities, is more than $5 million," he said. "We are seeking support from donors and partners, including resources for NGO [non-governmental organization] partners who would be working in the camp.  For the initial phase, we urgently need $1.5 million simply for the site preparation, land demarcation and setting up basic infrastructure including bore holes, setting up water points, emergency clinic, latrines, etceteras."  

A long-awaited 1,600-meter all-weather airstrip recently opened in Dollo Ado, Mahecic added, calling the development "great news" as it significantly upgrades access for humanitarian staff and transportation of cargo.  Until now, aid agencies were forced to travel on poor roads, which severely delayed emergency interventions and urgent medical evacuations.

With the opening of the new airstrip, Mahecic said humanitarian agencies will now be able to deliver relief items to the refugees even in adverse weather conditions.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid