News / Africa

UNHCR Tries to Count Somalia's Displaced

Workers unload emergency aid from a UNHCR-chartered aircraft in Mogadishu, August 8, 2011.Workers unload emergency aid from a UNHCR-chartered aircraft in Mogadishu, August 8, 2011.
x
Workers unload emergency aid from a UNHCR-chartered aircraft in Mogadishu, August 8, 2011.
Workers unload emergency aid from a UNHCR-chartered aircraft in Mogadishu, August 8, 2011.
NAIROBI - As the United Nations prepares to mark World Refugee Day Wednesday, the U.N. refugee agency is struggling to put exact figures to the number of internally displaced people inside Somalia. The country's displaced population is constantly on the move in search of humanitarian assistance and a peaceful environment.

The U.N. refugee agency, or UNHCR, said there are about 1.35 million displaced people inside Somalia. But the number is only an estimate.

Speaking to journalists in Nairobi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees representative for Somalia, Bruno Geddo, said his agency has faced a daunting task to make an accurate count.

He said displaced families move frequently, and satellite images pick up only temporary, makeshift shelters that remain empty most of the time, except when there is an aid distribution.

"Satellite imagery estimates, satellite cannot estimate how many people are living actually in each makeshift shelter," said Geddo. "They can only count the shelters but cannot confirm how many people are inside. "And therefore it's very imprecise measure of science, [a] very approximate rough estimation.”

Geddo notes humanitarian aid agencies use the satellite imagery for a working figure to provide assistance to the displaced, but not exact figures of the population in a given area.

He said the refugee agency is planning to carry out its own ground surveys in the Afgoye corridor - home to tens of thousands of displaced Somalis - to try to determine the exact number of Somalis in the 30-kilometer stretch.

“We will try to get access into Afgoye corridor, to do ground surveys, to try and see if we can do better than satellite imagery alone," said Geddo. "But it will remain a challenge because the gatekeepers will continue to provide figures which do not correspond to reality.”

The gatekeepers, in some areas, are al-Shabab militants who still control parts of southern and central Somalia.

It may be hard to get an exact number of people displaced in a given area, as the frontline of the military offensive against al-Shabab shifts from one region to the other.

For the last few months African Union forces have been announcing their offensives to give people time to get out of areas under military operations.  

According to the UNHCR, displaced people have cited a number of reasons why they left their villages and towns. Some of the IDPs expressed fear of being forcibly recruited to fight for al-Shabab. The rebel group also increased taxation on the already-suffering population in areas still under its control, especially the Juba and Shabelle regions.

The group has been dealt a blow both militarily by the African Union forces and Somali government fighters, and financially after losing vast amounts of land it once controlled.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More