UN to open new camp in Ethiopia as number of Somali refugees continues to grow

Saturday, October 20, 2012
Somalia refugee women and children wait to be registered
at a transit center in Dollo Ado. [Photo:UNHCR/L.Padoan]
Addis Ababa/Mogadishu: The United Nations refugee agency Friday announced it will open a new camp in Ethiopia as the number of Somalis fleeing conflict and insecurity in their country continues to grow.

“With people still arriving at Dollo Ado, the Ethiopian Government has authorized the opening of a sixth site and land for this has been designated between the town of Kole and Kobe camp, some 54 kilometres north of Dollo Ado town,” a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Andrej Mahecic, told reporters in Geneva.

Situated in the southeast of Ethiopia, Dollo Ado is the second largest refugee complex in the world after Dadaab, located in Kenya. Last week, according to UNHCR, the population at Dollo Ado passed the 170,000 mark, with new arrivals citing fear of harassment and forced recruitment by armed groups which control large rural areas of Somalia.

Somalia has been affected by conflict for more than two decades, which has forced more than two million people to seek safety and shelter either elsewhere, inside the country or beyond its borders. This was exacerbated by last year’s drought and ensuing famine, which uprooted an additional half million people.

Overall, the number of Somali refugees in neighbouring countries numbers more than a million. Half of these are in Kenya, while Ethiopia now hosts 214,000 displaced persons, in five camps at Dollo Ado as well as several hundred kilometres to the north at the eastern Ethiopian city of Jijiga.

So far this year, UNHCR has received $44 million of the more than $112 million sought for its activities
In addition, the spokesperson stated that a long-awaited 1,600 metre all-weather airstrip opened in Dollo Ado two weeks ago, significantly upgrading access for humanitarian staff and transportation of cargo. 

Funded by the United States Government, the airstrip was constructed by a field-engineering team from the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which worked closely with the Ethiopian civil aviation and road authorities.
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