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Over 130,000 Somalis forced to flee homes: UNHCR

17 September 2014, 08:13

Geneva - More than 130,000 Somalis have been forced to flee their homes this year owing to evictions, drought, conflict and lack of livelihoods, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Tuesday.

UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told journalists that out of the total displaced, some 107,000 are internally displaced (IDP) in Somalia, and around 23,000 sought refugee in Yemen, Kenya and Ethiopia during the first eight months of the year.

"This continuing displacement comes at a time when the internally displaced are bearing the brunt of the current food insecurity crisis in the country. IDPs spend proportionately more -- up to 75 percent -- of their available income on food, compared to Somalis in rural and urban communities," said Baloch.

He noted many people were living in sites lacking basic services and slept in shelters made of sticks, grass and cardboard. Incidents have been reported of sexual and gender-based violence, including rape, against girls and women by militias operating outside the settlements.

Also read: Somalia: Kenya is detaining innocent Somalis
UNHCR has distributed basic relief items to the displaced families, but enhanced efforts and additional distributions are required, the UN refugee agency said.

"While UNHCR and other agencies are scaling up response, our Somalia operation requires more than 40 million U.S. dollars, and remains under funded at 38 percent," Baloch noted, urging more to respond to the situation in Somalia.

 - Xinhua

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