Saturday, May 23, 2009

African Crises Displace 11 Million

African crises displace 11 million

In DR Congo, Somalia, Sudan, refugees number as much as 4 million each. Civilians and aid workers continue to be targetted

Friday, May 22, 2009by Spero News

The combined number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in 16 countries in Central and East Africa now exceeds 11 million, up from 10.9 million in December 2008.

According to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Somalia and Sudan continue to be the countries with the largest IDP populations. Sudan has over 4 million IDPs, while DRC and Somalia have over 1.3 million IDPs each.

Chad, Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania continue to host the largest number of refugees in the region. Each country hosted over 250,000 refugees at the end of March 2009.

Statistics compiled in the Displaced Populations Report published by OCHA Regional Office for Central and East Africa show that at the end of March 2009, 10 countries reported a combined total of over 9.1 million IDPs. The countries with IDP populations are Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

Sixteen countries in the region reported a combined total of nearly 1.9 million refugees at the end of March 2009. The refugee hosting countries are Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Djibouti, DRC, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Among the main events that have driven up the number of displaced people are repeated attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on civilians in north-eastern DRC and renewed fighting in the eastern North Kivu province related to the joint DRC-Rwanda military operation in January and February against armed rebel groups.

Also ongoing hostilities in Somalia have resulted in an influx of refugees to north-eastern Kenya, where the three camps in Dadaab are congested with a population of some 258,000 refugees - or nearly three times their original capacity - as of March 2009.

Displacement in the Central and East Africa region is triggered mainly by intra-state conflicts and, to a lesser extent, by natural disasters such as floods and droughts creating large incountry and cross-border population movements. Lack of access to displaced people due to insecurity and targeting of humanitarian workers is an ongoing challenge to those who provide humanitarian services in countries such as CAR, Chad, DRC, Somalia, and the Darfur region of Sudan.

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