African Press Association

Somali refugees lurch between crisis and disaster

From ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – MORE than 5 000 Somalis have fled the drought and conflict in their country and sought refuge in equally-troubled Ethiopia this year.This past weekend, the International Migration Organisation (IOM) assisted 80 newly arrived Somali refugees with emergency transportation from the Ethiopia-Somalia border entry point to Kobe refugee camp in Dolo Ado in Ethiopia.
Over 50 percent of the new arrivals are female while over 90 percent are under the age of 18.In addition to the severe drought impacting Somalia, the continuing conflict in the country contributed to a surge in new refugee arrivals to Ethiopia in 2017.
Some 2 855 individuals arrived in January alone, with arrivals surpassing the 2017 planning figure of 3 000 individuals by mid-February.While new arrivals have declined since March, humanitarian agencies anticipate a likely increase in new arrivals during the coming months, given the forecast of significantly below-average April to June rains and the ongoing conflict in Somalia. Neighbouring Ethiopia meanwhile is enduring its worst drought in years.Over 60 000 households are displaced across the country.
The Somali Region of Ethiopia is experiencing the largest impact of the drought and hosts 75 per cent of all households internally displaced due to drought. Dolo Ado also faces the strain that its five refugee camps put on resources in the area. Joséph Nyangaga, IOM Dolo Ado Sub-Office Head, said “IOM is scaling up its efforts alongside the drought-stricken Ethiopia-Somalia border to continue transporting Somali refugees in a safe and humane way to refugee camps, where they are provided with lifesaving services.”
– CAJ News