UN: one-quarter of Somali population now displaced
July 6th 2011
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says drought and violence have now driven one-quarter of Somalia’s 7.5 million people from their homes, either to internal camps or to refugee camps in neighboring countries. The estimate Tuesday comes as aid groups seek urgent help for Somalia, where the lack of rain has compounded chaos caused by years of civil conflict.
The UNHCR said it is especially disturbed by the high levels of malnutrition among the newest Somali refugees. It reported more than half of Somali children arriving in Ethiopia are seriously malnourished, as are about 40 percent arriving in Kenya. It also said that tragically, many children are so weak when they arrive that they die within 24 hours despite emergency care and feeding.
The United Nations and international relief groups said persistent drought in the Horn of Africa has left up to 10 million needing food aid. The British groups Oxfam and Save the Children launched an emergency appeal this week.