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Olive Branch For Somali Refugees In Ethiopia

By Timothy Sibasi, timothy.sibasi@alleastafrica.com

KAMPALA-Over 40,000 refugees of Somali origin will benefit from a plan to create close to 150,000 jobs in Ethiopia by the European Union and the World Bank.

Despite acute complaints from the EU about the huge influx of refugees in the Euro zone.The World Bank revelations of the plan to have two industrial parks built in the refugees hub of Ethiopia at a tune of $500 million which is an equivalent of 385 million pounds, seeks to have Ethiopia deal with the migrant crisis that has affected public service delivery in Europe.

However, this European Union and World Bank plan was a proposal mooted by the Ethiopian government seeking for international support to manage the refugees’ dilemma in Ethiopia, having identified it as a major hub of refugees fleeing to Europe and Asia.

A desperate journey of a Somali elderly refugee man in Ethiopia, in his hands carrying a baby in rag tag clothing.

This plan for refugees from Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea only caters for those living in Ethiopia alone, living out the huge numbers of Somali refugees living in Uganda, Kenya and Yemen.

But the UNHCR supplementary appeal presents the additional requirements for the Plan to respond to the Somalis refugees’ situation in Kenya and Somalia that was never projected in the UNHCR’s Excom-approval for the 2017 budget.

For the response inside Somalia, it’s noted that the Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017 mainstreamed the inter-agency requirements within the respective Cluster chapters for the return and reintegration of over 68,000 Somali refugees from Ethiopia, Kenya and Yemen, with total requirements of USD 80 million. However, the UNHCR component of the HRP for return and reintegration activities is not sufficient to address the new needs for an enhanced repatriation from Kenya to Somalia, which include additional requirements related to the expansion of reception facilities, the increase in repatriation grants, the additional shelter support needed and financial assistance targeting people with specific needs.

In Djibouti and Ethiopia, UNHCR has already planned responses to the needs of Somali refugees under the Somalia situation within their respective 2017 programmes.
In Uganda and Yemen, UNHCR’s response to the needs of Somali refugees is also included in the 2017 country programmes, as presented in UNHCR’s Global Appeal 2017-2018 for Uganda and in UNHCR’s Global Appeal 2017-2018 supplementary appeal for the Yemen situation.

In Uganda, some 36,600 Somali refugees continue to benefit from multi-sector assistance services in the settlement and targeted protection and livelihood interventions in urban areas. Yemen is a traditional migration and transit hub for migrants and refugees from the Horn of Africa and to date, Somalis have been granted prima facie recognition. Some 253,950 Somali refugees benefit from the range of services that are provided, including legal assistance, cash assistance, health care and education services. While most of the refugees live in urban/peri-urban settings, UNHCR manages a camp in Kharaz, in the south of the country. Owing to the continuing emergency in Yemen, no organized return is foreseen in 2017.

It is foreseen that UNHCR will request an extension of the supplementary budget for the Somalia situation for implementation in 2018 after the conclusion of the 67th session of the Executive Committee in November 2017.

But with the UK Prime Minister Theresa May holds the view that the multi approach to address the refugee’s crisis should be geared at having a model for supporting poorer countries housing large numbers of migrants.

Apparently UNHCR statistical data base indicates that Uganda currently hosting the biggest number of refugees in world history standing at 1.2 million refugees from Somalia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya.

With the current political instability in South Sudan orchestrating daily influxes  of refugees’ of South Sudanese origin to Uganda, UNHCR projects that by February 2018, the total population of refugees living in Uganda will have hit 1.5 million; a fact that has constrained public service delivery in Uganda.

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