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DOOLOW Somalia (Xinhua) -- People walk on the dried up riverbed near Doolow, a border town with Ethiopia, Somalia. A massive increase in humanitarian assistance is urgently needed to avert a famine, with humanitarian agencies estimating that 6.2 million drought-affected Somalis are in need of assistance, including food, water and sanitation, health and nutrition, protection and shelter. Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed also declared drought, which has been ravaging the Horn of Africa nation, a national disaster last month.  XINHUA PHOTO: SUN RUIBO

IGAD summit will discuss status of one million Somali refugees

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional bloc, is to convene an international summit Saturday, to discuss the status of nearly 1 million Somali refugees displaced by two decades of civil strife and prolonged humanitarian crises, organizers said Monday.

Kenyan government, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and IGAD, said in a statement the Nairobi Summit would “marshal a comprehensive regional approach” to find a lasting solution to the crisis facing the Somali refugees as they prepare to return to their homeland to rebuild their lives.

“Continuing political and the growing security stabilization progress in Somalia, along with growing pressure in host communities, makes this a critical moment to renew the process to find durable solutions for Somali refugees,” the organizers of the summit said in a statement.

Aid agencies and government officials say some two million Somali refugees have been displaced in Somalia, one of the world’s most protracted political and humanitarian crises nearing its third decade.

A generation of Somali refugees has never set foot at home and remains at refugee camps in neighboring countries having been born and raised during the protracted civil and humanitarian crises.

UN agencies estimate nearly 1.1 million Somalis are internally displaced inside the Horn of Africa nation and some 900,000 are refugees in neighboring countries—Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda.

Somalia’s Federal Government says amongst its key priorities have been to deal with the issue of displaced refugees within the country by providing basic services before moving to refugees in the neighboring countries to stem the potential for conflicts over scarce resources.

However, the Somali government has been decrying its limited ability to provide basic services.

Somalia conducted peaceful elections in February which saw the election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo. The elections followed December’s election of Members of Parliament, completing a peaceful transition.

IGAD member states termed the political transition in Somalia a “milestone” in the country’s post-conflict transformation, which ushers in an opportunity to begin work on a number of areas.

The agencies involved in the organization of the Summit said Monday addressing the humanitarian crises and the displacement of people should remain a priority for the new government.



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