Somalia Fact Sheet - January 2013

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 18 Jan 2013

UNHCR Operation highlights

Somalia is the country generating the third highest number of refugees in the world, after Afghanistan and Iraq.

Somali people are facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today. One in three Somalis is in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and one in every three children living in the South-Central region is malnourished.

UNHCR leads protection and emergency relief interventions targeting 700,000 IDPs out of a total IDP population estimated between 1.1 and 1.36 million and over 2,200 refugees in Somalia.

General Situation

Somalia generates the third highest number of refugees in the world (after Afghanistan and Iraq). As at 17th January 2013, there were 1,030,032 Somali refugees in the region, mainly hosted in Kenya, Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Tanzania and Uganda and almost 1.36 million Somalis internally displaced within the country, settled mainly in the South-Central region. 48,895 Somalis have so far sought refuge in neighboring countries in 2013. As of 15th January 2013, 1,600 people were internally displaced while in December 2012 alone, another 5,400 were internally displaced, mainly in South Central Somalia, in particular from the coastal city of Kismayo.

Between 1st November 2012 and 4th January 2013, an estimated 8,900 displacements were mainly recorded in South Central, out of a total 10,000 displacements recorded throughout the country. IDP temporary return was a major reason for displacement in South Central Somalia as an approximate 3,000 people temporarily returned to their places of origin.

An estimated 2.1 million Somalis are still in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, most having left their homes, walking hundreds of kilometres in search of assistance in IDP settlements within Somalia and refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.

With an elected president, Hassan SheikhMohamud, and a 275-member parliament, Somalia is set to reestablish government functions and institutions, with numerous reports of its diaspora population coming back home to contribute to similar activities. Somalia fell into the hands of armed opposition groups after the fall of the Siad Barre regime, and was divided along clan lines.

Most of Somalia continues to be in security level 5 (high), with some parts of Mogadishu and other areas on level 6 (extreme). Humanitarian access still remains a challenge in certain pockets especially in the South Central Zone and hampers delivery of life-saving activities. Distribution of emergency / temporary shelter materials and other relief items and protection through livelihood interventions are among the activities carried out by UNHCR to support IDPs.

As of 6th December 2012, UNHCR has distributed 41,104 emergency assistance packages (EAPs) for 246,642 people in Mogadishu and other districts within southern Somalia. These EAPs include kitchen sets, sleeping mats and plastic sheeting that would aid vulnerable populations in crisis.


In 2012, the number of IDPs in Somalia is estimated to be between 1.1 and 1.36 million most of whom fled Mogadishu in 2007 and 2008, due to increased military activities between pro and anti-govenment forces. Up to 100,000 of them now live in makeshift shelters along the road linking Mogadishu to Afgooye, some few kilometres to the west of the capital.