Saturday, 4 August 2012

UNHCR opens new office to handle influx of Somalis in Kenya

A military officer carries a resident in Mengzhuang village of Qinhuangdao, north China's Hebei Province, Aug. 4, 2012. Recent torrential rains in Qinhuangdao caused damages in 88 towns and villages of the city. According to local civil affairs bureau, more than 750,000 people were affected. The direct economic loss reached 440 million yuan (about 69 million US dollars). So far, a total of 34000 people were relocated.   (Xinhua/Wang Xiaoxue)

 The UN refugee agency said on Friday that it has opened a new office in northern Kenya to help cope with an influx of Somali refugees who are fleeing drought and lack of income in their country.
A statement from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it is a field office in Dollow and has enhanced its presence in the town close to the Somalia-Ethiopia border in response to the continued flight of Somalis.
According to UNHCR, latest figures showed 11,000 more people have been displaced within Somalia since the beginning of April due to drought and lack of livelihood, on top of 7,000 displaced in the first quarter of the year for the same reasons.
"The new office will be used not only by UNHCR but also by six other UN agencies and provide a base for visiting missions," UNHCR's Representative for Somalia, Bruno Geddo said in the statement.
Geddo, who returned on Thursday evening from leading an inter- agency mission that visited Luuq, home to an estimated 15,000 IDPs, also assessed the humanitarian needs in the town and gained a clearer picture of needs in the area.
"The Luuq District Commissioner told us that he would like to see international agencies 'stop creating camps' for Somali refugees in Dollow and Dollo Ado and instead to provide assistance directly in Luuq and other areas inside southern Somalia," said Geddo, who is based in Nairobi.
"This would mean displaced people would not be forced to move great distances in order to receive the assistance they need to survive," Geddo said.
Over 2.51 million people remain in crisis, unable to fully meet their basic needs without assistance.
Among the 1.5 million Somalis who are no longer in crisis, almost 1.29 million are in a stressed food security situation. They will risk sliding back into crisis without sustained assistance.
According to UN humanitarian agency OCHA, mortality and malnutrition rates in Somalia have improved dramatically, but remain among the highest in the world.
An estimated 323,000 children are acutely malnourished, representing 22 percent of all under-five children.(Xinhua)

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