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Sharp rise in deaths, U.N. visit to Djibouti: E. Africa drought latest

16 Aug 2011 15:43

Source: Alertnet // Katie Nguyen

An internally displaced man walks out of his makeshift shelter at a settlement camp in Howl Wadaag district in Mogadishu August 15, 2011. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

By Katie Nguyen

LONDON (AlertNet) – Somalia faces the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with 3.7 million people in need of aid, or half of the country’s population, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says.

Drought has also affected millions of people in the wider Horn of Africa region with several countries struggling with an influx of Somali refugees escaping famine at home.

Here’s a round-up of some of the latest developments in east Africa:


John Ging, director of coordination and response at OCHA, kicked off his tour of drought-hit Horn of Africa on Sunday, arriving in Djibouti where he met senior U.N. and government officials including President Ismail Omar Guelleh.

Ging’s visit is aimed at determining gaps in the humanitarian response to the crisis as well as any problems coordinating the delivery of aid to the region.

More than 120,000 people in rural areas in Djibouti are in need of urgent food as well as health, water and sanitation services, OCHA said. The tiny Red Sea state, which has the only U.S. military base in Africa and the largest French army camp on the continent, is also hosting 17,000 refugees in the Ali Addeh refugee camp, with around 700-800 new arrivals every month.


There has been a sharp rise in the number of deaths among newly arrived Somali refugees in one of Ethiopia’s camps, according to the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR).

Since the Kobe refugee camp opened in June in Dolo Ado, close to the border with Somalia, an average of 10 children under the age of five have died every day, UNHCR said.

Most deaths are due to malnutrition but suspected measles is compounding the problem. The agency said it had recorded 150 cases of suspected measles and 11 deaths from the disease.

In a separate development, UNHCR said some 17,500 Somalis have crossed into the Gode and Afder areas of southeastern Ethiopia over the last six weeks. Until recently Dolo Ado had been the primary destination in Ethiopia for fleeing Somalis.

“Preliminary assessments showed that an estimated 95 percent of the new arrivals were women and children, with the majority in very poor nutritional and health states,” UNHCR said in a statement.

“The mission described the overall situation as desperate and called for urgent humanitarian aid – particularly since local Ethiopians, themselves hit hard by the drought, have been sharing their meager supplies.”


Last week, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) sent medical teams and four charter planes carrying 55 tonnes of medical equipment, medicines and food to Mogadishu, the medial charity said.

An estimated 100,000 people have fled from south and central Somalia to the capital in recent weeks, settling in camps in and around Mogadishu.

MSF said it had vaccinated almost 3,000 children as part of measles vaccination campaigns in dozens of makeshift camps. Around 1,000 children have been screened for malnutrition with more than half of them said to be malnourished.

“MSF is extremely worried about the situation of the displaced. The situation is critical,” Unni Karunakara, international president of MSF, said in a statement.

MSF said it had started to provide medical care to around 100 patients daily

About labo22

Hi, this is Labaale your average concerned citizen of Horn of Africa, we’re really worried about the stability of this war torn region, we have the worst dictators from around the world, ironically supported by the Western Countries supposedly the advocators of democracy, transparency, good governance and human Right, If regime change is really needed this is the place to start, we have no short of rootless dictators from MELES Zenawi of Ethiopia,ISMAIL Guelleh of Djibouti,RAYAALE Kahin of self-declared Somaliland and ISAIAS Afwerk of Eritrea.


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