IOM and Partners have, over the last eight months, provided transport assistance to 100,000 Somalis fleeing into Kenya and Ethiopia because of war and famine.
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.
IOM has also helped transport those refugees who were stranded in Kenya on their way to the Daadab camp. Many had been unable to continue further unassisted because of exhaustion, illness and lack of food and water, after spending many weeks travelling on foot from their homes in Lower Shabelle and Bakool in Southern and central Somalia.
The Organization also relocated refugees who have been living in and around Dagahaley on the outskirts of the Daadab for lack of space, to new extensions at IFO 1 and IFO 2.
IOM was asked by the UNHCR to relocate the refugees to various camps in Kenya and Ethiopia to avoid congestion.
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 being received daily at Daadab, the largest refugee camp in the world.
Up to 25th January, 2012, IOM has provided transport to 54,710 of the displaced Somalis in Ethiopia to reach the five camps of Melkedida, Bokolmayo, Kobe, Hilweyn and Buramino.
In Kenya, 46,139 have been 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.
Meanwhile, IOM has 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 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 provide vaccinations to new arrival Somalis and work with local health centres to assist the host community.
The medical emergency response, co-organized with ARRA, aims to reach thousands of refugees who have been affected by the worst drought in the Horn of Africa for decades.