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Somaliland: UNHCR warns of humanitarian disaster as hundreds take refuge in Ethiopia

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About 100,000 individuals fleeing preventing in Somaliland, Somalia’s self-declared unbiased area, have taken refuge in a month in a distant space of Ethiopia already affected by extreme drought, the UN and Ethiopian refugee companies introduced Tuesday.

Citing authorities within the Doolo administrative zone, a part of Ethiopia’s Somali area and situated on the southeastern tip of the nation, greater than 1,300 km off the dangerous highway from Addis Ababa, the UN Excessive Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 98,000 individuals have arrived in three woredas (districts) bordering Somaliland since February 6.

“We’ll corroborate these figures” with the registration that has began, Tesfahun Gobezay, director normal of the Refugees and Returnees Service (RRS), an Ethiopian authorities company, mentioned at a press convention in Addis Ababa with Mamadou Dian Balde, UNHCR consultant in Ethiopia.

The newest figures out there on Monday present that “29,000 refugees have already been registered and the numbers are rising”, he mentioned, including that the refugees had been “primarily girls and kids”.

If their quantity is confirmed, the arrival of those refugees will swell by 40% the inhabitants of the three woredas involved, about 236,000 people who find themselves already struggling severely from the drought affecting their area and extra broadly a part of the Horn of Africa.

“It’s an space missing infrastructure and with little socio-economic growth, which has been fighting a drought for 4 years,” Tesfahun recalled. Nevertheless, its inhabitants, “affected by the drought and varied challenges, had been the primary to assist” the refugees, “even earlier than we arrived, they hosted them of their houses and shared their little meals.

Shelter, meals, water, medical assist: the wants are quite a few and “fairly pressing”, underlined Mr. Dian Balde, contemplating “crucial that our help doesn’t solely bear in mind the refugees, but additionally their hosts”.

Furthermore, the refugees “inform us: ‘we need to go house’. They don’t seem to be individuals who need to stay refugees (…) They’re due to this fact additionally calling for locating methods, options to the present drawback (in Somaliland) so that folks can return house,” he insisted.

Previously a British territory, Somaliland unilaterally declared its independence from Somalia in 1991, when the nation was plunging into chaos from which it has not but emerged. Though it has its personal establishments, Somaliland has by no means had its independence acknowledged by the worldwide neighborhood.

Somaliland loved relative stability till rising political tensions in current months triggered hostilities between Somaliland forces and militias from the neighbouring Somali area of Puntland on February 6.

Earlier than the arrival of the Somaliland refugees, Ethiopia, with a inhabitants of about 120 million, was already internet hosting greater than 880,000 refugees, largely from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan, based on the UNHCR.