Addis Abeba – European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations said that more than 95,000 new refugees and/or asylum seekers are estimated to have crossed into the Doolo and Warder zones in Ethiopia from the neighboring Somalia since the beginning of February 2023.
The refugees are fleeing hostilities in Laas Caanood, in the breakaway Somaliland where local reports indicate that at least 112 people are killed since the clashes erupted early this month. The EU warned “more arrivals can be expected as active clashes continue.”
In mid February, the UN said that the families arriving in Somali constitute mainly women and children and have temporarily settled across more than 13 locations in the towns of Bookh, Galhamur and Danot Woredas in the Doolo zone.
The EU further cautioned that the refugees are sheltering in areas that are “already drought-prone and chronically food insecure. Being so remotely located, there are scarce human and material resources and limited coping capacity.”
Furthermore, the humanitarian situation is expected to be aggravated for the refugee population and the host communities alike “due to the blockage of major food supply routes from the Puntland region in Somalia and the disruption of the food market.”
A rapid assessment mission conducted in mid-February 2023 and led by the Ethiopian Refugee Response Services and UNHCR with the participation of a number of UN agencies and humanitarian organizations highlights the need of immediate food assistance and basic services; the set-up of a coordinated multi-sectoral response – including protection; improved sanitation and hygiene promotion activities; and the deployment of mobile health teams and vulnerability screenings, according to the EU.
The US and the UN have recently condemned the violence and called for end to it and for those responsible to be held accountable. The clashes between Somaliland security forces and clan members in Laas Canood, Sool are reported to have displaced more than 185, 000 civilians. AS