Somali exodus continues amid conflict and poor rains

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One year after a combination of drought and conflict drove thousands of Somalis from their homes into neighbouring countries, the refugees still face a myriad of challenges, according to the UN Refugee agency UNHCR.

Although the famine is over, food stocks in many parts of the country remain dangerously low due to the poor seasonal rains.

The situation has been compounded by continuing violence which makes distribution of food difficult and many displaced people are forced to undertake a treacherous journey to reach camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.

According to UNHCR in the first four months of 2012, some 20,000 Somalis sought refuge in neighbouring Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen, down from an average of 40,000 Somalis who fled their country in mongh between June and September 2011.

 Andrej Mahecic from UNHCR however says the health status of the refugees had improved with malnutrition and mortality levels among children falling considerably.

"At the peak of the influx last summer, the estimated death toll was as high as 17 deaths per 10,000 people every day. At the onset of the crisis UNHCR and its partners set up critical nutrition programmes in reception and transit centres and in the camps. Combined with mass vaccinations and other public health measures, these massive efforts saved lives over the past 12 months. Mortality and malnutrition rates began to drop from record highs in September last year, but it took another six months before they fell below the levels usually seen in an emergency."

Duration 35″

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