Amid insecurity, more Somalis cite difficulties sustaining themselves
Conflict is normally cited by displaced Somalis as the main reason for flight, but in recent weeks we have seen an increase in IDPs and refugees also citing difficulty in providing for themselves. Over the past seven weeks we have registered some 6,000 Somalis who have cited such difficulties - usually arising from meager seasonal rains and resulting food insecurity. The majority are from Somalia's Bay, Lower Juba and Bakool regions.
For 2012 to date, UNHCR has recorded 13,000 such displacements. However in May alone we registered 4,400. Insecurity is still the major cause of displacement inside Somalia, accounting for around 146,000 displacements so far this year.
In Lower Juba region, people are moving to the towns of Diif, Qoqani, Tabta and Dobley in search of water and pasture. They have settled in areas around Dobley and Diif, close to the border. Many are now integrated with host communities, while others have settled on the outskirts of the towns. There are similar displacements in and around the Dollow, Gedo region bordering Ethiopia.
In Ethiopia and as of this week, there are more than 157,000 Somali refugees in the five camps and transit centre at Dollo Ado. Since the beginning of June, Somali refugees have continued to arrive in increasing numbers, with an average of almost 1,200 new arrivals every week.
These refugees consistently cite growing physical and food insecurity as their reasons for flight, including fear of forced recruitment by Al Shabaab. Many new arrivals are coming with all of their belongings, including donkey carts and whatever livestock they still possess. Many say that other family members and neighbours in Somalia intend to follow. UNHCR and Ethiopian authorities have agreed to extend the capacity of the Buramino camp to above 25,000, while finalizing site selection for a sixth camp.
There are also reports that the regular commercial traffic carrying food and other commodities from the port town of Kismayo to Afmadow, Lower Juba Region, and Dobley has been hampered by roadblocks since late last week. We note with concern that the continuation of such paralysis would have negative consequences for already vulnerable internally displaced people (IDPs) and host communities in the region and will likely increase local commodity prices.
For more information on this topic, please contact:
- In Nairobi, Somalia office, Andreas Needham,on mobile: +254 733 120 931
- In Geneva: Andrej Mahecic on mobile +41 79 200 7617