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News: UNHCR relocates more than one thousand Somalia refugees newly arrived in Ethiopia

Brothers Noor Musae Noor (right) and Abdi Shukur (left) wait with their children near the border to be relocated to Mirqaan settlement in the Somali region of Ethiopia. Photo: UNHCR

Addis Abeba – 1,036 most vulnerable and newly arrived refugees in the Somali region of Ethiopia, who fled clashes in Somalia’s Lascanood city, have been relocated from border areas to a new settlement over the past three days, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Ethiopia’s Refugees and Returnees Service (RRS), the UNHCR, and other partners are organizing transportation to the new site, 50 kilometers from the Mirqaan, Bokh district border. 

According to UNHCR, families of refugees are biometrically registered upon arrival and given a tent and other necessities to build a new home. It is also indicated that the Ethiopian government allocated 400 hectares where refugees can settle and access existing services: health care, water, and education. 

UNHCR pointed out that it continues to engage with local authorities and leaders to assess gaps in essential services that benefit both refugees and Ethiopians while increasing its staff in the area. 

Since clashes started in mid-February, thousands of people have arrived in the Somali region of Ethiopia seeking safety. As of last week, 91,000 people had been registered by RRS with UNHCR’s support, according to the report. 

Refugees continue to arrive, fleeing ongoing violence in their home country, which disproportionately affects women, children, and the elderly. More than 3,400 children and adolescents are unaccompanied and separated from their parents. 

According to the report, many refugees are being hosted by Ethiopian families in their homes, and others who crossed into Ethiopia remain in overcrowded shelters or are sleeping outdoors and require urgent assistance, “The establishment of the Mirqaan site will respond to these ever-increasing needs and facilitate the provision of assistance, including shelter, core relief items, food, and water to those without ties to the community.”

As needs grow and refugees continue to arrive, last month, in March, UN agencies and partner organizations appealed for USD $116 million to provide life-saving assistance to Somali refugees seeking safety in an extremely remote area of Ethiopia’s Somali region.

Currently, close to 100,000 refugees are estimated to have crossed the border from neighboring countries like South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan into Ethiopia to escape violence. 

UNHCR calls on the international community to support the Ethiopian government, UNHCR, and other organizations to deliver life-saving aid and basic services. AS

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