Addis Ababa November 2 /2019 The number of Somali refugees who fled extended drought and conflict and entered to Ethiopia this year has increased by seven fold, the Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) said.
ARRA Public Relation Head, Yasin Aliey told ENA that Ethiopia has received some 7,800 Somali refugees in 2019, a number seven times greater than the previous year.
Frequent and extended drought and conflict are amongst the main reasons to forced Somalis to leave their country, he added.
“It [data] shows an increase in number of Somalis refugees entered to Ethiopia from 1101 in 2018 to 7831 in 2019. The influence of Al-Shabab in southern Somalia in one hand and the frequent drought in the other hand are the basic causes to influx Somalia refugees to Ethiopia this year,” Yasin elaborated.
He pointed out that currently over 263,000 Somali refugees are being hosted in refugee camps in Ethiopia.
The agency, pursuant to the country’s open-door policy for refugees and in collaboration with international organizations is providing necessary facilities to the refugees, Yasin said.
Furthermore, he indicated Ethiopia has been undertaking efforts to improve the livelihoods of refugees in the country in alignment to the 2016 New York Declaration on Refugees.
In this regard, the government of Ethiopia has revised some of the regulations to create favorable environment for refugees.
“There are various practical activities that we are undertaking; these include refugees engaging in irrigation within the Liben Zone of Dollado area refugee camps,” he said.
In addition to that, some 1,000 refugees have so far received university scholarship in various institutions of higher learning.
Senior Researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Meresa Kahsu said refugees are engulfing due to protracted conflict and the ‘obvious hospitality’ of Ethiopia.
Though peace and stability in Somalia has improved over the last years, with the support of Ethiopia, AU and the international community, Meresa said much remains to maintain lasting peace.
“The Al-Shabab’s attack at cities, villages and streets is the one cause. But, I think that the hospitality of Ethiopia in hosting refugees is the second factor for entering to Ethiopia as it attracts the Somalis to look for better life,” Meresa said.
Data show that over 900,000 refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Yemen and Syria are being hosted by Ethiopia.