New York- US (PANA) -- The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday sai d it had started relocating Somali refugees from a transit centre in Ethiopia's D olo Ado, near the border with Somalia, to a new camp at Melkadida, some 65 kilom e tres away.
A statement from the UNHCR said the first convoy, consisting of 11 buses and two trucks carrying their luggage, transported 247 Somali refugees who had fled wor s ening security and limited access to humanitarian aid in central and southern So m alia over the past weeks.
"They are part of a group of 7,000 Somalis who have recently been recognised as refugees by the Ethiopian government with UNHCR expert support," it said.
It also disclosed that Melkadida was the second camp in south-east Ethiopia and the fifth camp in the country accommodating Somali refugees.
The first one, Bokolmanyo which opened in April last year to accommodate 20, 000 refugees, has reached capacity.
According to the UN agency, the land at Melkadida on which the new camp was cons tructed has been provided by the local authorities.
"It can accommodate up to 20,000 refugees and we and our partners are intensifyi ng the work of expanding basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation se r vices, a health center, relevant basic communal facilities and a children's cent e r.
Establishment of schools and other facilities and services is also planned," i t said.
"After arriving at Melkadida, refugees spend three days in a reception area afte r which they move to their allocated plots of land,'' it noted.
"Currently, emergency tents have been erected until permanent shelters are in pl ace.
Refugees are provided with food as well as tarpaulins, blankets, kitchen se t s, jerry cans and mosquito nets.
"The plan is to relocate 500 refugees a week from the transit centre to the new camp," UNHCR said.
The statement also said that Somali Region of Ethiopia already hosts more than 6 0,000 Somali refugees in four camps - Au-Barre, Bokolmanyo, Kebribeyah and Shede r .
"Somalis are arriving in Ethiopia at an average of 200 individuals per day, and we are already planning for further camps near Melkadida,'' it added.
Meanwhile, the UNHCR said the number of casualties and of people injured in the cross fire was alarming, saying that at least 50 people were reportedly killed a n d over 100 were injured since the conflict intensified last week.
"So far this year we have seen 6,450 people arriving in Kenya, of whom 2,400 arr ived in February," the UN agency said.