The Somali refugee crisis is one of the longest-running in the world, with people who have been displaced for more than 20 years.
NEW YORK, United States of America, January 11, 2017 – More than one million Somali refugees who have been displaced from their homes for decades are becoming despondent as they continue to be unable to return home and donor support is growing fatigued, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
“There is a growing sense of helplessness in the camps because people are feeling forgotten,” said Mohamed Abdi Affey, the Special Envoy to the Somali refugee situation for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The Somali refugee crisis is one of the longest-running in the world, with people who have been displaced for more than 20 years. Some one million live in camps throughout the Horn of Africa, while an additional 1.1 million are displaced within Somalia.
“There has been some real progress in Somalia over the past few months, including the successful organization of elections inside the country,” acknowledged the Special Envoy. “What’s needed now is to build up infrastructures across the country so refugees do not suffer when they go back.”
UNHCR is backing a regional summit, led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Eastern Africa, which will take place in March to determine lasting solutions for Somali refugees. A proposed regional response would provide continued protection to 262,000 Somali refugees in a camp in Kenya that has been hosting people for more than 20 years. When a decision was made last year to close the camp, UNHCR lobbied the government with a new plan of action and successfully delayed its closure.
“Nobody wants to be a refugee forever. A regional solution is the most viable solution for the Somali situation,” said Mr. Affey.
Mr. Affey, who previously served as the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister in Kenya, spoke in Geneva yesterday following a visit to Somalia and to refugee camps in Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda, where 905,060 Somalis live – some since the 1990s. He also visited Yemen last month, where refugees face increasingly desperate conditions in a country torn apart by war.
Because of emergencies elsewhere – particularly in Syria and South Sudan – donors have been unable to continue their support.
“Meanwhile, hunger is growing; meanwhile, frustration is growing; meanwhile, desperation is setting in and people are becoming angry,” reported the Special Envoy.
In addition to dwindling food rations, Mr. Affey said that the ongoing drought in East Africa has led to further complications, including limited access to education and skills training, especially for young people.
“Refugees should be skilled enough, trained to prepare them for an eventual return so that they can participate in the reconstruction of their country. So that they don’t go back after 30 years without skills – within the camps we must create these conditions and possibilities.”
UNHCR began supporting the voluntary return of Somali refugees from Kenya in 2014. Since then, a total of 39,316 have returned. However, Mr. Affey noted that security and socio-economic conditions in many parts of Somalia are not yet where they need to be in order to support large-scale returns. He appealed to the international community to strengthen efforts to build stability in a country that has suffered under more than two decades of armed conflict.
Beginning this month, the UN agency was forced to reduce food ration by half for the refugees’ monthly entitlement, which will only last until the end of February if no further funding received.
NAIROBI, Kenya, December 8, 2016 -Forced to make a new round of cuts in food rations for refugees in Kenya, the World Food Programme (WFP) has appealed urgently for nearly $14 million to feed the 434,000 refugees living in Kenya’s Dadaab and Kakuma camps and in the new Kalobeyei settlement.
“We are appealing to donors to quickly come to the aid of the refugees, who rely on WFP food assistance for survival,” Annalisa Conte, WFP’s Representative and Country Director for Kenya, said in a news release.
WFP currently provides food relief to refugees in Kenya’s Dadaab and Kakuma camps, as well as the newly established Kalobeyei settlement. This assistance comes as cash transfers and food distributions. For those most vulnerable, the agency also offers specialized fortified foods to prevent malnutrition.
“WFP immediately requires $13.7 million to cover the food and cash needs for the refugees between December and April,” stressed Ms. Conte.
Beginning this month, the UN agency was forced to reduce food ration by half for the refugees’ monthly entitlement, which will only last until the end of February if no further funding received.
While cash transfers have not yet been cut, they are due to be exhausted by the end of January. If the agency is forced to discontinue the cash transfers, however, it will specifically affect 7,500 refugees in the recently launched Kalobeyei settlement, as the only form of food assistance they receive is cash.
“A generous and critically important $22 million shipment of food from the United States is en route to Dadaab and Kakuma and should be available for distribution by May,” Ms. Conte said, while warning: “But we have a dangerous gap in funding until then.”
She further reiterated that without an urgent response from other donors, WFP will completely run out of food for more than 400,000 people in Dadaab and Kakuma at the end of February.
“Why is UN not paying much attention to member states that are clearly sliding into turmoil and crisis and instead is majorly involved in the after effects of Humanitarian assistance. It doesn’t make sense. We can’t wait until it’s too.” – Francis Mwijukye [35th Inter Parliamentary Union- Geneva: High level United Nations Management committee Meeting on Development assistance, Humanitarian assistance, peace keeping operations and Mormative treaty related knowledge, 26.10.2016]
We are living in a brave new world where the world order is switching… its twists and turns, the morning dew disappears and the sun kisses the earth yet again. The last few days the world has changed. Because Nations and States have made decisions that matters; they are not only talking, but now they are acting on it.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) of The Hague is under fire. After Burundi, South Africa and Gambia are thinking of pulling out of the International Court that access the genocides and crimes against humanity.
With the escalated conflicts, the stories of lives doing whatever they can flee nations, this is happening from the internal conflict inside Burundi, Burundians refugees are now in Tanzania, Rwanda and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This because the President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to stay in power for a third term; when the Constitution of Burundi said the Executive only could have two!
The same with the internal fighting between SPLM/A VS. SPLM/A-IO in South Sudan; where there is battle of power between President Salva Kiir and former FVP Dr. Riek Machar. Because of the conflict in South Sudan the civilian refugees have fled to Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia. Now MONUSCO got SPLM/A-IO and Dr. Machar from the DRC to Khartoum earlier this year.
In Kenya this is happening: while the Somali Refugees are now being sent home from Kenya under the command of the government there. This happening while opposition in all of the countries mentioned has optionally torturing, arresting, detaining and even harassing them if needed be. The Kenyan Government using the fear of Al-Shabaab to send the refugees away and also hustle more donor-funding from the United States. That happens because the Jubilee apparently didn’t’ earn enough coins on NYS, Eurobonds or whatever scheme they had in play at the time.
In this New World order that is arranged while the Government are using their Security Organizations to silence opposition. While the Nation with the African Union (AU) Headquarters and are the leader of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Ethiopian Government even uses helicopters, artillery and soldiers to kill civilians in the regions of Amhara and Oromo people. This is a Nation who has soldiers in Peacekeeping mission all around the Continent, but using all kind of force to oppress their own.
So in this place and time with more totalitarian regimes, with more leaders not leaving offices and with less political freedom; the International Justice is winding down. The rule of law internationally right now is losing its power, while the United Nation’s negations and diplomatic missions like the Inter-Burundian Dialogue under former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mpaka hasn’t gone anywhere. While the dialogue between UN’s own Edem Kodjo hasn’t created anything resembling a General Election run by the CENI in the DRC. That is because President Joseph Kabila has no plan of leaving office without using force on his own. This is happening while the bloodshed continues in the Kivu’s, while the MONUSCO and FARDC watching it in silence. ADF-NALU and the Mayi-Mayi continues as well together with the Ex-FARDC Gen. Muhindo Akili Mundos has also blood on his hands. This is happening while the Rwandan State still can export high-grade minerals that they cannot even produce or has mines to extract on their soil. This has been happening since the first war in the late 1990s.
So the New World Order is more of the same… the same kind of violence, the other change is the new brave leaders who defy the International Order. They don’t want to follow it when they feel it is unfair. United Nations (UN) might be next or the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the World Health Organization (WHO). As they might respect the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the World Bank (World Bank) because they need their financial stability or the financial stimulus that backs the budgets and aspects the government needs to pay their elites, businesses and whatever it takes to keep the regimes a-float.
This is the grand issues… the human rights violations, killings and detentions… so the Presidents and their Administrations are now afraid of the ICC. They are worried that their actions be served by the Court and they have to answer for their crimes. Doesn’t matter if this court exists or not; the UN should put up Tribunals after the Internal Conflicts like they done in the past. Than it is not direct prosecutions or charges that the ICC has put on Executives or any in the inner-circle of ruling regimes as they know their using illegal forces to silence their people and citizens. Though the feelings from African Nations that they are feeling threaten by the ICC and their actions as they are not going-in on Europeans or Americans in general, while African Generals and Politicians are hand-picked.
I’m just waiting for the honourable nations of Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Togo, Guinea, and Equatorial Guinea, and so on… There are more that will make decisions to leave, as even Cote d’Ivoire might revoke their place.
There are fears on the horizon, the ICC is losing its standing, the international community better listen as the men who are greedy on power and resources take it in these days by any means and hope to get away with it, while their people suffer. The only differences at our time are that information is not forgotten or not told. It’s there for those who listen; time to consider and rethink the World Order and where we want to be. Peace.
NAIROBI, Kenya, October 13, 2016 – As the announced closure of the world’s largest refugee camp draws closer, and thousands begin the return to war-ravaged Somalia, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is calling for other alternatives to be urgently considered by the Government of Kenya and the UNHCR, supported by donor countries.
In a report released today by MSF, ‘Dadaab to Somalia: Pushed Back Into Peril,’ more than eight out of ten refugees surveyed say they do not want to return, with the main concerns cited including fear of forced recruitment into armed groups, sexual violence and the non-availability of healthcare. 
In the report, MSF also highlights the severe medical consequences of such a massive return.
“It is clear that refugee camps are not the best way to manage a protracted 25-year crisis but closing them now without offering other durable solutions pushes them back to a conflict zone, where medical care is dangerously absent,” says Bruno Jochum, MSF General Director. “This decision is yet another blight on refugee protection globally, where again we see total failure in providing safe haven for people in danger. The UN itself has recently declared that five million are at risk of hunger inside Somalia. Sending back even more people to suffer is both inhumane and irresponsible.”
Somalia: an acute lack of medical care
In Dagahaley, one of the five camps which make up Dadaab, MSF medical teams have seen children arriving from Somalia having not been vaccinated against a range of preventable diseases, a telling indication of a health system torn apart by more than two decades of war where even basic care is barely existent. Pregnant women will have minimal care, putting their own lives and their unborn babies under threat. People with chronic medical conditions are also at risk – whether they are diabetics who need life-saving insulin, or people with hypertension who need ongoing treatment.
Additionally, mental health patients are in danger. In Dagahaley, 70% of MSF’s mental health patients are on medication. “If a patient with psychosis is forced to come off their medication, their cognitive function and behaviour development goes into reverse. Stuck in a country where mental health services are basically non-existent would put their lives in severe jeopardy,” says Liesbeth Aelbrecht, Head of Mission for MSF in Kenya.
A call to Kenya, the UNHCR and donor countries: other solutions urgently required
Eighty-six percent of surveyed refugees in Dagahaley do not want to go back to Somalia. Fears around insecurity were acute with nearly all – males and females – stating that the risk of sexual violence is high. MSF is therefore questioning the ‘voluntary’ nature of the returns that the UNHCR is helping facilitate.
“The fears that the refugees tell us about are real,” says Aelbrecht. “It is crucial that any return is voluntary, and refugees must have all necessary information about the services and conditions which will meet them in Somalia.”
MSF reiterates that setting up Dadaab style camps across the border is shifting responsibility and abandoning the protection of refugees. Other more durable solutions, such as smaller camps in Kenya, increased resettlement to third countries, or integration of refugees into Kenyan communities, should be urgently considered. Additionally, MSF appeals to the international community to share the responsibility with the Government of Kenya.
“It is unacceptable that – without any other solution being offered – thousands are essentially being pushed back into conflict and acute crisis: the very conditions they fled,” concludes Aelbrecht.”Kenya should not shoulder this burden alone. Funding from donor countries needs to be directed to providing sustained assistance in the country of refuge, not to supporting what will essentially be a forced return to a warzone.”
MSF does not accept any government funding for its project in Dadaab – all funding is provided by private donors.
MSF first started working in Dadaab in 1992 and is currently the only provider of medical care in Dagahaley camp. Staff are working in the 100-bed hospital in Dagahaley camp and at two health posts, providing outpatient and mental health consultations, surgery, and antenatal, HIV and TB care. Overall in 2015, teams carried out 182,351 outpatient consultations and admitted 11,560 patients to the hospital.
 Some 30,000 refugees have returned to Somalia since a tripartite agreement on voluntary repatriation between the Governments of Kenya and Somalia and the UNHCR was signed in November 2013. The majority of these – 24,000 – have left during the course of 2016.
 To understand the refugees’ concerns and needs, in July and August 2016 MSF conducted a series of discussions and interviews, and a household survey, with refugees in Dagahaley camp about their current situation and the prospect of a return to Somalia. Focus group discussions involved 75 people (42 male and 33 female) in Dagahaley camp. Interviews were carried out with 31 people including patients, MSF incentive workers and community members. The survey polled 838 heads of households (53% male and 47% female) in Dagahaley camp, with households totalling 5,470 individuals.
Conakry, 25 March, 2015 – The Guinean Government with the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated the very first efficacy trial of an Ebola vaccine this week in an affected community of the Basse-Guinée, one of the areas where most Ebola cases are found in the country. Ring vaccination tests of VSV-EBOV, a lead Ebola vaccine developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, received an excellent response from the community in a small village in the Coyah prefecture, where the trial team arrived on 23 March.
“This landmark operation gives hope to all of us, in Guinea and in the world, that we might soon have an effective public health tool against Ebola, should the vaccine prove to be safe and effective,” stated the WHO Representative in Guinea, Dr. Jean-Marie Dangou. “The start of ring vaccination clinical testing today in Guinea is therefore one of the most important milestones we have achieved in seeking a modern line of defense against Ebola.”
Trained medical staff, vaccines and other essential equipment were dispatched from Conakry to Coyah to vaccinate contacts of recently infected people who have given consent in a village of the Coyah prefecture. Vaccinations for now will include only adults, who are most at risk of infection, with the exception of pregnant women.
“We are committed to ending this epidemic,” said Dr. Sakoba Keita, National Coordinator of the Fight against Ebola in Guinea. “Combined with control measures that we are putting in place with our partners, a safe and effective vaccine will allow us to close this trying chapter and start rebuilding our country.”
The ring vaccination strategy consists in identifying recently infected patients and vaccinating all their contacts, thereby creating a ‘ring of immunity’ around them to stop the virus from spreading.
“This very same strategy was a key contribution to eradicating smallpox in the 1970’s, and allows us to vaccinate all those at greatest risk,” explained WHO Coordinator for the Guinea Vaccine Trial, Dr. Ana Maria Henao Restrepo.
Dr. Bertrand Draguez, Medical Director for the Non-governmental Organization Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) stressed that: “The trial is organized on a voluntary basis, and participation is confidential, free and non-remunerated.”
The Guinean Government is fully committed to the success of the vaccine clinical trial. In a 20 March official letter addressed to all the Mayors, Prefects and local Health Officials in Guinea, the Head of the National Coordination Against Ebola in Guinea, Dr Sakoba Keita, asked all local public actors for their full cooperation and support.
A total of around 10 000 people are planned to be vaccinated in 190 rings within a six-eight week period. Volunteers will be followed for three months. Results could be available as early as July 2015.
Note to editors
About the vaccine and the vaccination strategy:
VSV-EBOV Vaccine was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The vaccine was licensed to NewLink Genetics, and on November 24, 2014, NewLink Genetics and Merck announced their collaboration on the vaccine.
The concept of ring vaccination applied to the Guinea Ebola vaccine clinical trial is based on vaccinating the “rings” (group of contacts of a newly diagnosed Ebola “index case”) either immediately after confirmation of the Ebola diagnosis of the “index case”, or three weeks later (delayed vaccination). This strategy allows all the known contacts to be vaccinated within a short period of time, and it constitutes an excellent alternative to the use of a placebo. The ring vaccination trial design was developed by an international group of experts from Canada, France, Guinea, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, and WHO. This group included Professor Donald A. Henderson, who led the WHO smallpox eradication effort.
The Guinea Ebola vaccine trial is a coordinated effort among numerous international partners. The trial is implemented under the responsibility of the Guinean government. The World Health Organization (WHO) is the sponsor of the study. The Government of Guinea, Doctors without Borders / Medecins sans Frontières (MSF), Epicentre, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and WHO are coordinating its implementation. The trial is funded by MSF; the Research Council of Norway through the Norwegian Institute of Public Health; the Canadian government through the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, International Development Research Centre and Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development; and WHO, with support from the Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom.
For more information, please contact:
Pr Jean-Marie DANGOU, WHO Representative to Guinea
Cel : + 224 623 23 55 55
Dr Ana Maria Henao Restrepo
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M. Konaté Issiaga
Tel : +224 62 59 70 42
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel : +224 624 827 240
Email : email@example.com
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