Danish Refugee Council
Saturday, December 08, 2012
War, drought and consequences of famine in Somalia continue to force people to seek refuge across the border in Ethiopia. There, Danish Refugee Council has provided shelter and emergency assistance to thousands, but more aid is needed in one the region’s fast growing refugee settlements.
On the dry and barren lands of Dolo Ado in Ethiopia, with not much else happening than a strong wind constantly blowing, covering everything in a layer of soil and sand, hope is again thriving. It can be hard to understand that this would be a place to seek refuge, but when history is one of years of hardship, loss, and fear, then this is finally a place to find at least some relief and protection.
Many people have heard of the 2011 famine that hit the Horn of Africa including large areas of Somalia, creating an exodus of people fleeing their homes. Millions are still displaced in Somalia and those who crossed the borders to neighboring countries are still there and still depending on aid and assistance. While some areas have become known to the wider world following the famine, even less have heard of the five camps constituting the Dolo Ado settlements. This settlement grew significantly during 2011 and are now hosting more than an estimated 174,000 Somali refugees fleeing drought and conflict.
During the last month of 2011 until now, the Danish Refugee Council has been able to support Somali refugees in Dolo Ado through funds from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO). These funds have enabled Danish Refugee Council to provide Somali refugee families and individuals with more than one thousand emergency shelters. Along with the shelter construction, a number of activities have been carried out to strengthen the resilience of both Somali refugees and vulnerable Ethiopian local communities hosting them, including cash for work projects and skills trainings.
Today, long lines of different types of shelter have appeared in the Dolo Ado settlements in Ethiopia. Danish Refugee Council is one of the humanitarian aid agencies working here in support of the Somali refugees of which the vast majority have arrived during 2011. More refugees are coming every day. It is no longer famine forcing Somalis to give up their homes and livelihoods, but instability and extreme poverty following more than two decades of war in Somalia. A situation that continues to make it hard for millions to cope with natural hazards and now also recover from the 2011 famine.
"We still see immense needs of people struggling to manage everyday life in the Dolo Ado settlements in Ethiopia. Shelter, access to safe drinking water, sanitation and simple ways to support alternative livelihoods for people in Dolo Ado - these are still significant needs and should remain key priorities to aid agencies, governments and international donors," says Michael Adams, director of the Danish Refugee Council’s activities in Ethiopia.
Danish Refugee Council works throughout the Horn of Africa and Yemen, including Ethiopia and is now exploring new ways to continue relief efforts in the Dolo Ado settlements.