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Friday, June 24, 2011

UN sees 'dramatic' rise in Somali refugees as 20,000 arrive in Kenya over 2 week period

By: The Associated Press

June 24, 2011

GENEVA - The U.N. refugee agency has expressed alarm at what it calls a "dramatic" rise in people fleeing Somalia to Kenya to escape war and famine.

A spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says 20,000 Somalis have arrived in Kenya over the past two weeks alone.

This is a sharp increase from last year, when some 6,000 to 8,000 Somalis were arriving in Kenya each month.

UNHCR spokesman Melissa Fleming told reporters in Geneva on Friday "it's not only that number that is shocking, it's the state that the people are in when they arrive."

Fleming says many of the refugees walk for days without food and water to reach the massive Dadaab camp that already houses some 360,000 Somalis.



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