Thousands of Somalis are fleeing to Ethiopia for fear of hunger and extremists.
Insecurity caused by al Shabaab and worsening drought have forced these Somalis to seek refuge in the East African nation.
“I left because of my children. I want my children to succeed and have a bright future. Living on the farm when there is drought is always difficult. I have raised my children in hardship. I can’t let them be taken away by the fighters”, Barwako Abdi said.
I left because of my children. I want my children to succeed and have a bright future.
“There was a time when we would cultivate the farms. The river would rise, and it would flow, and we survived. We planted maize, tomatoes, sesame and other things along the river. Now the river is dry and there is no more rain. What’s worse is that al Shabaab forced us to give them the little we had”, another Somali refugee, Shalle Hassan Abdirahman said.
The UNHCR said with increase in arrivals, there are sometimes not enough space to accommodate everyone.
Muhammad Harfoush is the UNHCR’s protection officer. “New arrivals never stopped coming to Ethiopia, so every year we have some more coming and reporting the same challenges when it comes to drought, insecurity, shortage of food and water’‘, he said.
Ethiopia has received 5,000 Somali refugees so far this year. That’s four times more than last year.
More families are expected to flee to southern Ethiopia in coming months as the country faces its worst harvest since the 2011 famine.