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Saturday, August 27, 2011

More Somali famine victims fleeing to Yemen: UNHCR

More Somali famine victims fleeing to Yemen: UNHCR NAIROBI, Aug 27, 2011 ( Reuters) - There has been a jump in the number of Somalis, hit by famine, instability and high food prices who are fleeing to Yemen instead of other countries in the drought-ridden Horn of Africa region, the U.N. refugee agency said. An internally displaced woman carries her malnourished child outside their makeshift shelter at a temporary camp in Hodan district of Somalia's capital Mogadishu August 26, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Feisal Omar Some 3.7 million Somalis are at risk of starvation in the worst drought in decades and most of those are from five areas in the rebel-controlled south where famine has been declared. Kenya, with nearly 498,000 Somali refugees, is the largest host country, and at one point 1,500 refugees a day were arriving at Kenya's sprawling, overcrowded Dadaab refugee camp near the border with Somalia. "Recently, however, the pace of arrivals to the Dadaab refugee complex has slowed to 1,000-1,200 people per day," the UNHCR said in a briefing on Friday. "Bucking the trend of the slowing outflow in the Horn of Africa, Yemen is seeing a sharp rise in the number of Somali refugees arriving on rickety boats across the Gulf of Aden," the agency said, adding that more than 3,700 refugees had reached Yemen's coast in August. The drought has put some 12 million people at risk across Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia, and the fact that Somali refugees are making the dangerous voyage to conflict-hit Yemen instead of staying on the continent, highlights their desperate situation. Yemen is host to the second-largest Somali refugee population, with nearly 192,000. About 15,000 of those have arrived since in January, UNHCR said. "They cross the Gulf of Aden on what are often unseaworthy and overcrowded boats. Many do not survive the dangerous crossing," UNHCR said. The agency said it expected more refugees to arrive in Somalia over the next months, but thought they were waiting for calmer seas.   Source: Reuters  

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