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UN: Somali Refugees Surpass One Million in Horn of Africa

  • VOA News

Newly arrived Somali refugee women carry firewood at the Ifo Extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, October 19, 2011.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says the number of Somalis who have fled their country has surpassed one million.
According to the agency, most of the refugees are fleeing to neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.
The most recent arrivals, like previous ones, cite continued unrest and food shortages in Somalia.
However, the outflow of refugees has slowed dramatically in the last year.
Spokesman Andy Needham says the drought situation is much better compared to last year, although inadequate rainfall continues to be a problem.
"The most recent rains which were the April to June rains - our weather and food security colleagues are telling us - they were poorly distributed, arrived late, they were below average in other words. They didn't deliver the amount of rain that was necessary. So what we are seeing as a result is displacements, localized more so than generalized of people within certain regions inside Somalia," he said.
Also, al-Shabab militants have lost much of the territory they controlled. However, the U.N. agency is concerned fighting will increase again, as Somalia tries to replace its transitional government next month.