Mogadishu exodus reaches nearly 100,000 since May

UN said that 96,000 Somalis had fled their homes during a month of battles between opposition rebels and the government in Mogadishu.

Mogadishu exodus reaches nearly 100,000 since May
The United Nations said on Friday that 96,000 Somalis had fled their homes during a month of battles between opposition rebels and the government in Mogadishu.

They have swelled the more than 1 million internal refugees in Somalia, which aid agencies say has one of the world's worst -- and most neglected -- humanitarian crises.

A two-year insurgency, the latest manifestation of 19 years of conflict in the Horn of Africa nation, has killed around 18,000 civilians, and unknown numbers of fighters.

It has also drawn foreign jihadists into Somalia, enabled piracy to flourish offshore, and unsettled the whole region, with East African neighbours on high security alert.

Three million Somalis need urgent food aid.

In an update on the flows from Mogadishu, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said about 35,000 of those displaced since the latest flare-up began on May 8 were still in the city, seeking shelter, because they had no means to escape.

Another 26,000 had reached makeshift camps in the Afgoye area, about 30 km (20 miles) south-east of Mogadishu.

"According to UNHCR's local partners in Somalia, some 2,000 people have indicated that they plan to cross the border into Kenya. More than a thousand said they are ready to risk their lives and make the perilous journey with smugglers across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen," the agency said.

"Some 600 people told our local partners they were heading towards Ethiopia."

Reuters
Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Haziran 2009, 13:21
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