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Somali refugees in Ethiopia: Melkadida & Jijiga Situational Update, March 2020

Situation Report
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Operational context


Bokolmanyo, Melkadida, Kobe, Hilaweyn, and Buramino camps shelter 159,342 Somali refugees.
The greatest influx into Ethiopia’s Somali region was recorded during 2011 due to the worst drought and food insecurity that hit Somalia together with the ongoing insecurity. The Melkadida operation continues to receive new arrivals, with a total of 989 new refugees in the first two months of 2020. A total of 7,264 new arrivals were registered in 2029, representing the highest number of new arrivals in the last 5 years. As of 8 March 2020, the UNHCR/ARRA Reception Centre in Dollo Ado accommodated 747 individuals, awaiting transfer to one of the camps.
Presently, the registered refugees stand at 26,878 in the Bokolmanyo camp, 34,357 in Melkadida camp, 30,592 in Kobe camp, 35,027 in Hilaweyn camp, and 32,488 in Buramino camp.


The UNHCR Sub-Office in Jjjiga was established following the arrival of over 600,000 refugees, originating from the Southern and Central Somalia and north western Somalia into Ethiopia in 1989 and in the early 1990s. the second wave of arrivals was driven by the eruption of a civil war in 1991. To date, there are three refugee camps namely, Kebribeyah, Aw Barre, and Sheder. As of 29 February 2020, the registered population under Sub-Office Jijiga area of operation stands at 37,477 persons. This includes 14,951 refugees in the Kebribeyah 12,120 refugees in Aw Barre and 11,994 refugees in Sheder refugee camps. The operation recently also received refugees who were previously registered in Eritrea but decided to cross over and seek asylum in Ethiopia. More than 29% of the refugees are below the age of 18. There are three entry points at the Ethiopian border namely Togo-Wajaale, Segembe, Gille and Goroyo’awel where Somali refugees can cross.
However, registration and access to asylum procedures capacity remain limited since the last couple of years. This has created a backlog of unregistered asylum seekers who reside with family members across the three camp. Since 2019, an asylum tracking mechanism was set up to monitor border movements and track asylum requests along with a detailed physical verification exercise followed by registrations. Furthermore, there are transit centres in place, but these require upgrading.