Somalia + 1 more

Somalia: The number of climate refugees is rising

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"It's too hard here. Had it not been for the drought, I would have lived and died in Somalia."

Habiba Adan Mohamed, 44, now lives in the Ifo camp of the huge Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya. Her upper arm has a bomb shrapnel still lodged in. She was hit as she and her family fled her drought-stricken home in Southern Somalia.

"We were seeking shelter in an abandoned house when a bomb exploded nearby. I lost my daughter and three grandchildren," the Habiba says tears in her eyes. She adds that she now lives in the camp with her remaining five orphaned grandchildren.

Unsan and Habiba are just two of the many refugees in Dadaab - climate refugees constitute 10 percent of the estimated 300,000 refugees in the camp.

The natural calamities that have hit the Horn of Africa - especially Somalia, have led to a significant number of people migrating to food-secure places; several end up in the camps of Hagadera, Ifo and Dagahaley. This means that apart from civil strife, despotic leadership and wars, climate is steadily becoming a major contributor to displacement.

According to the Field Officer in charge of the UNHCR registration centre Miss Felicia Owusu, there has been a recent increase in the number of new arrivals who have been forced to seek refuge in the camps due to the drought and floods in Somalia. She says that the arrival of these economic migrants whose livelihoods have been affected by climate change has been a contributing factor towards the overstretched resources in the region.

The Danish Refugee Council works jointly with other organisations in both the Dadaab camps and the host community in the Dadaab area of Kenya. The area has provided protection and support to refugees for almost two decades and there is a continued need to not only provide legal and practical protection for the many refugees, but also support to livelihood and income generation among both those hosting and those being hosted in the region. Actual activities centers around capacity building, education and vocational training, all of which assist the community in become self sustainable and more capable at managing the constant pressure from displacement.