Somali Refugees Fill UN Camp in Ethiopia Within One Month

A refugee camp opened on the Somalia-Ethiopia border at the end of June is already full, forcing the United Nations to build another one, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

As many as 2,000 Somalis fleeing war and drought are arriving each day at three camps in Dolo Odo region of southern Ethiopia, the UN said in an e-mailed statement today. Work on a fourth camp to hold as many as 40,000 people is under way.

“The dire situation in Somalia continues to push an increasing number of refugees into neighboring countries,” the UN said in the statement. “The condition of the new arrivals is of great concern: many refugees are arriving in a very weak state, with up to 45 percent of children suffering from malnutrition.”

Somalia is suffering from drought compounded by ongoing conflict between the Western-backed Transitional Federal Government and al-Qaeda-affiliated insurgents.

The United Nations’ refugee agency said on July 8 that it was unable to cope with the influx of refugees. It has launched a global appeal for the Horn of Africa, with $62.7 million needed for the Ethiopian camps.

As many as 10 million drought-affected people across Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda will need food aid, the UN’s World Food Programme said on July 8.

Somalia hasn’t had a functioning government since the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa via Johannesburg at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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