Home | News    Thursday 21 August 2014

Ethiopia named Africa’s biggest refugee-hosting nation

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

August 19, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) announced on Tuesday that Ethiopia has become Africa’s biggest refugee-hosting country, overtaking neighbouring Kenya.

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South Sudanese refugee Nyarout Chuol sits with children displaced by the conflict at the UNHCR’s Kule refugee camp in Ethiopia’s Gambella region (Photo: William Davison)

UNHCR said Ethiopia, which is currently sheltering 629,718 refugees, took the lead at the end of July, surpassing Kenya, which is hosting a total of 575,334 refugees.

The large influx of South Sudanese refugees into Ethiopia is the driving factor behind the East African nation’s elevation to the continent’s largest refugee-hosting country

The conflict, which erupted in mid-December last year following a political split in South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM), has killed an estimated 20,000 people and forcibly displaced over a million.

Over 188,000 South Sudanese refugees, mostly woman and children, have crossed into Ethiopia since the conflict erupted, swelling the country’s South Sudanese population to 247,000.

An UNHCR official recently told Sudan Tribune that Ethiopia currently receives an average of 1,000 South Sudanese refugees per day.

Kisut Gebregziabher, UNHCR’s senior public information officer in Addis Ababa, said although the number of new arrivals had halved since their peak in June and July, the current influx remained large.

He said the agency was in need of additional funding to meet the needs of the new arrivals.

“Together with the Ethiopian government and other partners we are providing protection and humanitarian aid in 23 refugee camps and five transit sites around the country,” said UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards.

According to UNHCR, more than 18,000 South Sudanese are sheltered in three temporary sites located in the western region of Gambella.

However, in recent weeks heavy rains have flooded low-lying sites, with Pagak, Pamdong, Matar and Leitchuor camps among the worst affected.

Some 10,000 refugees, over a fifth of Leitchuor’s population of 47,600, have been hit by heavy rains and flooding, raising serious health concerns and the threat of disease.

“We are working with our partners to drain the accumulated rainwater into a nearby small stream as quickly as possible. We are also speeding up development of the new Nip Nip camp some 3km from Leitchuor. It will be able to accommodate 20,000 refugees,” Edwards said.

Following the heavy rains, the refugee agency and its partners have in the meantime begun relocating affected refugees from the roadside to drier spots inside the camp.

It is also providing relief items and other belongings to refugees who have lost their possessions due to the floods.

(ST)

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  • 21 August 2014 07:04, by George Bol

    Kim Deng, Gatwich, Midit, and Wang,

    I have told you that you must avoid stepping on Salva Kiir Mayardit tail;other you and likes will run to Ethiopia and Sudan for safety.

    repondre message

    • 21 August 2014 09:55, by Malakal county Simon

      Youe seriously, need to seek medical to accept Dr Machar, as your next president!! Slave George B.

      repondre message

  • 21 August 2014 07:28, by Madina Tonj

    I think these refugees Southern Sudanese people will experience the second faction of their Sons in Nuer society. Supposed to tell Riek Machar and Taban Deng Gai not repeated the past rebellion unfortunately, they kept supports them and soon or later, the whole Nuer communities will be running to Ethiopia when the war is getting naught SPLA Dinkas will reach Gambela region this is not a jok.

    repondre message

  • 21 August 2014 07:33, by Madina Tonj

    I think these refugees Southern Sudanese people will experience the second faction of their Sons in Nuer society. Supposed to tell Riek Machar and Taban Deng Gai not repeated the past rebellion unfortunately, they kept supports them and soon or later, the whole Nuer communities will be running to Ethiopia when the war is getting naught SPLA Dinkas will reach Gambela region this is not a jok.

    repondre message

  • 21 August 2014 07:41, by wang

    Do not get excited yet Mrs. Kiir supporters….the war as just started and it will definitely end up in your own yards….however, we are not going to kills all those most vulnerable Dinka civilians as for revenge….but we must capture Kiir and her commanders and hang them alive

    repondre message

    • 21 August 2014 14:44, by Mayom County Boy

      is that not a shame from Ethiopia goverment because they are the onces who are supporting Riek Machar, while they are announce that they are holding high figure of regufees.

      repondre message

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