Sudden drop in Somali arrivals in Kenya: UNHCR

21st October 2011, Comments 0 comments

The UN refugees agency said Friday that the number of Somalis fleeing to Kenya's Dadaab camp was falling, likely either due to military operations at the border or strong rains in the region.

"In the Dadaab refugee complex in eastern Kenya, we are seeing a sharp drop in the number of new arrivals from Somalia. This could be due to the border military operations or the onset of heavy rains in the area," said Andrej Mahecic, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

"No newly arriving refugees have approached the the registration centre in the last week," he added.

Nevertheless the humanitarian crisis in Somalia is far from over as evidenced by the large number of outflows to Yemen.

Despite unrest in Yemen, some 4,500 Somalis sought asylum in the country in August while 3,292 arrived in September.

These numbers were twice that of the average 1,600 monthly figure seen between January and June.

"In total, an estimated 196,000 Somali refugees are now in Yemen, where our resources are additionally strained by internal displacement that affects over 415,000 people," said Mahecic.

An estimated 3.7 million people in Somalia -- around a third of the population -- are on the brink of starvation amid the worst drought in the region in 60 years.

© 2011 AFP

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