Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - The International Organization of Migration (IOM) has said that, in cooperation with partners, it provided transport assistance, over the last eight months, to 100,000 Somalis fleeing to Kenya and Ethiopia because of the war and famine in their country.
''From its reception centre at Dollo Ado, on the border between Somalia and Ethiopia, IOM used buses and trucks to assist arriving refugees and their possessions reach the main Ethiopian camps of Bokolomanyo, Melkedida and Halweyn which are located some 35 kilometres away from Dollo Ado,'' the organization said in a press release received by PANA in Khartoum, Tuesday.
The statement said the organization had also helped transported refugees who stranded in Kenya on their way to the Daadab camp, pointing out that many had been unable to continue further unassisted because of exhaustion, illness and the lack of food and water, after spending many weeks travelling on foot from their homes in the Lower Shabelle and Bakool in Southern and central Somalia.
The IOM said it also relocated refugees who have been living in and around Dagahaley on the outskirts of Daadab for lack of space, to new extensions at IFO 1 and IFO 2, following a request by the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees to relocate the refugees to various camps in Kenya and Ethiopia to avoid congestion.
It said that at the peak of the influx, 2,000 displaced Somalis were arriving daily at the transit centre at Dollo Ado, in Ethiopia. In Kenya, about 1,200 Somalis were received daily at Daadab, the largest refugee camp in the world.
The release said that up to 25 January, 2012, IOM provided transport to 54,710 of the displaced Somalis in Ethiopia to reach the Melkedida, Bokolmayo, Kobe, Hilweyn and Buramino camps while in Kenya, 46,139 were assisted to reach the camps at Daadab, IFO 1 and IFO 2.
''Transporting people out of severely over-crowded camps and centres has been vital because the congested conditions are dangerous for refugees' health and well-being. Taking them to areas where they have proper access to life-saving assistance ensures that they have adequate shelter, food, water and sanitation. In Ethiopia, IOM transport has also been assisting to re-unite separated families in the camps.'' the IOM argued, saying it had started constructing two Health Posts for the Somali refugees in Ethiopian camps.
The amenities will have wards for treating Acute Watery Diarrhoea, the main disease affecting the residents in the camps, particularly the children. The first such post will be constructed at Bokolmanyo camp in Ethiopia.
Another Health Post is planned for the Melkedida camp which houses 40,000 displaced Somalis.
The extended health support in the Melkadida and Bokolmanyo aims to bolster the capacity of the Ethiopian Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARAA) efforts to support primary health care in the two camps.
The Organization has deployed three visiting specialists, a psychiatrist, gynaecologist and ophthalmologists who are offering specialized mental and eye healthcare, as well as gynaecological services for women and girls in the camps.
In Kenya, IOM is providing medical assistance to the government of Kenya by seconding locally-recruited staff to the ministry of health. The staff provides vaccinations to Somalis just arriving and work with local health centres to assist the host community.
-0- PANA MO/VAO 31Jan2012