Thousands of Somali refugees in Ethiopia relocated to new settlement

Children walking in a refugee camp Children walking in a refugee camp Ahmed Akacha / Pexels

 New settlement opens for latest Somali refugees in Ethiopia.

In mid-February, fighting erupted in the central city of Las Anod between troops of Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland and the local militia. Over the last 2 months, almost 100,000 people have fled with many arriving in Ethiopia's eastern, Somali Regional State. As the humanitarian needs of those displaced continue to increase, UNHCR has recently relocated 1,036 newly arrived refugees in the Somali region of Ethiopia, who fled clashes in Somalia’s Las Anod city.

As refugees in Ethiopia’s Somali region are in dire need of immediate emergency assistance, UNHCR began with the relocation of 1,036 of the most vulnerable people transferred from border areas to a new settlement over the past three days. The relocation to the new site (located about 50 kilometers from the border in Mirqaan in Bokh district) is organised in coordination with the Ethiopian Refugee and Returnee Service (RRS) and UNHCR and other NGO partners. Additionally, given the enormous status of the emergency, the Ethiopian government has provided 400 hectares of land for the refugees to settle and access existing services such as health care, water, and education. UNHCR continues to work with local authorities and leaders to identify gaps in basic services so that support benefits both refugees and Ethiopians.  

​Given the escalating violence from Somalia to Ethiopia leading to a large number of vulnerable people seeking refuge and protection, the UNHCR spokeswoman Olga Sarrado reassured that "As of last week, 91,000 people have been registered by Ethiopian authorities." Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres underlined that thousands of people have arrived in the Somali region of Ethiopia in search of safety. Ethiopia currently hosts a total of nearly 990,000 refugees from neighbouring countries such as South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan.


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by Alessandro Tagliaferri

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