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UN: Somali death rates at Ethiopian refugee camp 'alarming'


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UN: Somali death rates at Ethiopian refugee camp 'alarming'

2011-08-17 04:57:29 GMT+7 (ICT)

UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) -- Death rates of Somalia refugees have reached "alarming levels" at a camp in Ethiopia where an average of 10 children under the age of five die every day, the United Nations reported on Tuesday.

The United Nations refugee agency said that while malnutrition is the greatest concern, a suspected outbreak of measles is responsible for many deaths. Adrian Edwards, spokesman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva that a measles vaccination campaign in the Kobe camp, which hosts 250,000 refugees, was completed on Monday.

"An assessment of the mortality rate in one of four refugee camps at the Dollo Ado complex in southern Ethiopia found that since the Kobe camp opened in June, an average of 10 children under the age of five have died every day," the UNHCR said.

Elsewhere in Ethiopia, some 17,500 refugees from Somalia have crossed into the Gode and Afder areas over the past six weeks. The new arrivals are mainly women and children who are "in very poor nutritional and health states," according to the UN.

The United Nations recently declared famine in five areas of Somalia where acute malnutrition and starvation has already claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people. Before the current crisis, the Somali capital hosted some 370,000 internally displaced persons, who have now been joined by an additional 100,000 who flocked into the capital in June and July from the famine-hit southern areas in search of food, water, shelter and medical assistance.

The hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa has also affected large areas of Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti and has left an estimated 12.4 million people in need of assistance. According to the UN, the drought is expected to continue until early 2012, and the number of people in acute livelihood crisis is expected to increase from 8.8 million in the coming months.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-08-17

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