UNHCR launches $48 million appeal for Somali situation
The UN refugee agency on Monday launched an appeal for US$48 million to fund until the end of next year badly needed assistance for newly arrived Somali refugees fleeing renewed conflict in Somalia, and people displaced inside Somalia. It is estimated that the number of Somalis in the region who will receive assistance from UNHCR under the appeal will rise to 478,000 by end 2008 from 312,000 currently.
The rise in numbers assisted is partly because UNHCR considers that access for aid delivery may improve reaching more internally displaced persons inside Somalia, especially in the south and central areas of the country. It is also expected that the total number of people displaced may also rise to around 528,000 by end 2008 from 500,000 now.
The additional protection and assistance to internally displaced Somalis and newly arrived Somali refugees in Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen and Djibouti will cost $47.8 million until the end of 2008. Of that $22.6 million is needed for internally displaced people in Somalia, $12.6 million for new refugees in Ethiopia, $7.5 million for new refugees in Kenya, $4 million for new refugees in Yemen and $776,000 for new refugees in Djibouti.
The programme is intended to provide protection and assistance to Somali refugees who have arrived since January 1, 2007 in the neighbouring countries of Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen and Djibouti, fleeing the conflict between the Islamist Courts Union and the Transitional Federal Government. Their numbers are expected to increase from 62,000 now to 78,000 by the end of 2008.
This is in addition to the 450,000 Somali refugees who fled previous turmoil in Somalia, which has lasted two decades, and are assisted under UNHCR's annual programme. Of those, some 315,000 lived in the neighbouring countries at the end of last year, with the rest scattered in other countries.
As part of the joint UN response for internally displaced people, UNHCR has responsibility for protection, non-food items and emergency shelter. Inside Somalia, our appeal it is aimed at improving the protection and living conditions of some 450,000 internally displaced people. The assistance will include shelter material and other non-food items for newly displaced people. A report last week from the capital, Mogadishu, said 10,000 people had left the city in a renewal of the outflow seen earlier in the year. Living conditions in displaced settlements are now among the worst in Africa. The programme will include protection monitoring and tracking of population movements as part of an early warning system to improve future humanitarian responses.