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

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora