Somali refugees in Ethiopia up by sevenfold amid conflict, recurrent drought: official

ADDIS ABABA: November 4 (EI) – The Ethiopian government on Saturday disclosed that the number of Somali refugees who fled to Ethiopia due to recurrent drought and conflict has surged by sevenfold in 2019.

The Ethiopian Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) on Friday said that Ethiopia has received some 7, 800 Somali refugees in 2019, a number seven times greater than the previous year.

“Frequent and extended drought and conflict are amongst the main reasons to forced Somalis to leave their country,” state-run Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) quoted Yasin Aliey, ARRA Public Relation Head, as saying on Saturday.

Figures from ARRA also show that the number of Somalis refugees entered Ethiopia has augmented from 1,101 in 2018 to 7,831 in 2019.

According to Aliey, the massive influx of refugees from Ethiopia’s neighboring nation Somali is mainly attributed to the terrorist threat posed by al-Shabab that affects the peace and security of southern Somalia as well as recurrent drought incidents in the country.

Noting that Ethiopia currently hosts more than 263,000 Somali refugees across refugee camps in the East African country, ARRA also reiterated Ethiopia’s open-door policy towards refugees.

Aliey also stressed that the Ethiopian government has recently revised some of the regulations to create favorable environment for refugees.

“There are various practical activities that we are undertaking; these include refugees engaging in irrigation within the Liben Zone of Dollado area refugee camps,” he said.

Some 1,000 refugees have so far received university scholarship in various higher education institutions in Ethiopia, according to ARRA.

According to recent figures from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), Ethiopia is host to the second largest refugee population in Africa, sheltering 905,831 registered refugees and asylum seekers, largely from Ethiopia’s neighboring countries such as South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Yemen.

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