Somalia Refugees & Aid Problems

28 Oct

Eric Laroche, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia was quoted in a Reuters report, “Aid conditions in Somalia increasingly fraught: U.N.” dated October 26, that almost an estimated number of 1,000 people flees Somalia’s capital ,Mogadishu, on a daily basis; and that political instability is making it increasingly hard to deliver aid. In Mogadishu, school enrollment has also dropped by more than 50%.

The cause: Islamist-led rebels attacking the Transitional Federal government and its Ethiopian military allies almost every day resulting in widespread insecurity, in turn, forcing aid agencies to leave Somalia. Refugees also escape due to tribal fighting or lack of jobs.

According to IRIN, a news report entitled, “Somalia-Yemen: Over 3,000 Somalis living in harsh conditions, community leader says”, Mohammed Deriah, a leader of Somali refugees in al-Basateen (a poor neighbourhood in the southern port city of Yemen, Aden), said “the area is home to more than 16,000 Somali refugees, and that some 3,000 new arrivals live in the open next to the neighbourhood’s shanty houses.”

The living conditions of these refugees, according to the report, are even sometimes worse than from where they came from.

Says Amnah Abdul-Hamid, a refugee who escaped war in Somalia four years ago, arriving in Yemen, al-Basateen, only to lose two of her children to diarrhoea, “I suffer from brain neuritis [inflammation of a nerve or nerves]. I am in dire need of help as I have no job to provide food and shelter for myself I need to work but I am sick, and the war in my country prevents me from returning.”

Problems plaguing the community are poverty and poor sanitation which has caused diseases such as diarrhoea, chest inflammation and malaria.

According to UNHCR, 59 boats arrived in Yemen carrying 5,808 people. 99 of them died and 141 remain missing in September 2007 alone. The agency also reported a total of 18,757 people crossing the Gulf of Aden by boat, with an estimated 404 having died on the way while 393 remain missing, just this year.


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