Suffering in Somalia - 25% displaced

2011-07-05 20:41

Geneva - Persistent violence compounded by a serious drought have forced 54 000 Somalis to flee in June, bringing the total number of displaced Somalis to a quarter of the country's population, the UNHCR said on Tuesday.

The food shortage problem is so acute that there are now reports of children under five dying of hunger and exhaustion while fleeing, or dying within a day of their arrival at refugee camps despite emergency aid, the UN refugee agency said.

"The drought, compounded by prevailing violence in southern and central parts of the country, is turning one of the world's humanitarian crises into a human tragedy of unimaginable proportions," said Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

"In June alone, 54 000 people fled across the two borders, three times the number of people who fled in May," she noted, adding that many children arriving in Ethiopia and Kenya were seriously malnourished.

So far in 2011, some 135 000 Somalis have crossed the borders in search of refuge as well as food and water, joining millions of others who have fled over the last few years.

"We estimate that a quarter of Somalia's 7.5 million population is now either internally displaced or living outside the country as refugees," said Fleming.

Those who have been displaced recently were arriving in neighbouring host countries in very poor health conditions.

Over 50% of Somali children arriving in Ethiopia were seriously malnourished while those arriving in Kenya are showing rates reaching 30 to 40%.

"Increasingly, we are hearing reports of children below the age of five dying of hunger and exhaustion during the journey," she said.

"Tragically, many children are in such weak conditions when they finally arrive that they die within 24 hours despite the emergency care and therapeutic feeding they immediately receive," she added.

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said last week that ten million people in the Horn of Africa have been hit by the worst drought in 60 years, with some areas on the verge of famine and thousands on the march in search of food and water.

  • DoublySalmon - 2011-07-05 21:21

    Ethiopia and Somalia had little Western oppression and imperialist agendas and what not..maybe the previous South African government isn't to blame for poverty and hunger and misery in South Africa? Why do we keep giving food to Ethiopia and Somalia? Ethiopia's population doubled since the famine first started 20 years ago and they're still having more children than they can feed.

  • Nobody - 2011-07-05 22:11

    Wow, I sit here drinking my wine, reading my internet news with my DSTV playing in the background, knowing that my fridge is stocked, my electricity is ticking, I have medical aid if I get sick, my household is insured, and my car is fueled and safely parked in the garage. I will be going to a warm bed soon, having feasted on a take-away chinese meal, dreaming of my next holiday. I am fortunate. Life certainly is cruel and unfair. That photo... certainly no-one deserves a life like that.

  • cgtours - 2011-07-05 22:29

    Yes, they just keep on breeding !! and the children suffer that are born to know future for the lack of theirMother and father having ANY respon sibility or self control.- castrate theM and steriliZe theM,- that is the best way to STOP THEIR SELFISH ignorant breeding.!I do not feel sorry for any women /men in these times, who have children suffering- if they havE more than or at the most two- NO WAY!Do not give food or aid to a family unless they are sterilsed on the spot! and then the aid given! They just keep multiplying- the world aids 1 million today next year they are 2 million the year after 3 million- they are like flies and rabbits - no end - so give birth control first if the have malnourished children alrAedy( steriliZation for both parents) and then the food.No STERLIZATION - NO AID!!!iT IS JUST NOT SUSTAINABLE.- tHEY ARRIVE AS REFUGEES AND SURE AS HELL WITHIN MONTHS THERE IS ANOTHER CHILD NEXT YEAR ANOTHER CHILD- stop it noW !! Do not even accept any refugees with 1 or more children if they do not agree to be sterilized before !

      Nobody - 2011-07-05 22:51

      Yes... When I go on my next holiday to their country (Somalia) I don't want them to cake around my beach umbrella like flies while I sip on my Pina- Colada. You are 100% right. They might blot out the sun while I am trying to catch a tan.

  • Littlefaith4 - 2012-05-25 15:18

    Please reach out! God loves them too.

  • Littlefaith4 - 2012-05-25 15:19

    Please reach out! God loves them too.

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