New York- US (PANA) -- In the face of a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situat ion, the United Nations refugee agency has called for increased funding to help t hose displaced both inside and outside Somalia.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), made the appeals on Wednesday, as the UN Security Council was meeting in an open session at the UN headquarters i n New York to discuss the current situation in Somalia.
"This year alone, escalating violence has driven some 200,000 Somalis from their homes.
As it becomes more dangerous and difficult to flee across the borders, m o st are sheltering within the country's borders,'' the UNHCR said in a statement.
PANA reported that the two supplementary appeals, totalling US$ 60 million, laun ched by the UNHCR on Wednesday, bring the agency's total budget for 2010 for Som a lia and its four neighbouring countries -- Kenya, Yemen, Ethiopia and Djibouti - - to nearly US$ 425 million.
To date, the agency has received just over one third of its global comprehensive needs budget.
The agency, however, said the additional funds, called for would be earmarked fo r addressing ever-increasing needs both in Somalia and nearby countries, as well as to expand the Ifo camp in Dabaab, Kenya.
"Originally designed for 90,000 people, the three camps in Dabaab, which UNHCR s aid is one of the world's oldest, largest and most congested refugee sites, are n ow home to nearly 300,000 refugees, mostly from Somalia," it said.
"Thousands are continuing to arrive in Dabaab monthly, with Kenya receiving 21,0 00 people in the first found months of 2010," the UNHCR noted.
It also said the funds from the appeal would also help to open two new camps for Somali refugees in Yemen and in Djibouti.
"The displacement crisis is worsening with the deterioration of the situation in side Somalia and we need to prepare fast for new and possibly large-scale displa c ement," said UNCHR Deputy High Commissioner Alexander Aleinikoff, who recently w r apped up a visit to the region.
The Horn of Africa nation continues to be plagued by fighting between government forces and its supporters and Islamist rebels, as well as by drought, poverty, f ood insecurity and heavy flooding.
Somalia remains the scene of one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with 1.
4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), some 575,000 refugees and n early three million people dependent on aid, out of a total population of nearly eight million.
In 2009, 120,000 Somalis fled their country, mostly to Kenya and so far, nearly 40,000 have sought asylum in the region and further afield so far this year.
On Tuesday, UNHCR issued new guidelines to ensure the protection needs of Somali s are dealt with consistently.
The guidelines also encourage nations to assess applications for refugee status for people from the war-torn country in the broadest way and to extend other for m s of international protection when refugee status is not granted.
UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming said Tuesday in Geneva the agency believes th at asylum-seekers from central and southern Somalia are in need of international protection.