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World Vision expands relief efforts to southern Somalia

August 11, 2011

World Vision expands relief efforts to southern Somalia

World Vision has established an emergency response centre in Dolo, located in southern Somalia near the border with Ethiopia. Dolo is one of the largest transit facilities for Somalis fleeing violence and famine. The United Nations estimates as many as 140,000 people have passed through it on their way to refugee camps in neighbouring countries this year.

The creation of the response centre is a significant step forward as aid agencies were banned from the south-central part of Somalia last year by Al Shabaab. However, Dolo is now under the firm control of the Transitional Federal Government and Ethiopian Army.

“I was part of a World Vision assessment team that visited Dolo last week and I was struck by the extremely harsh conditions,” says Mike Weickert, a director of humanitarian and emergency affairs at World Vision. “We saw children who were clearly malnourished and weakened from the long trek to get there in search of safety.”

With several hundred refugees arriving each day, local aid agencies are finding it difficult to cope. “Food, medicine, shelter and sanitation are the most urgent requirements and the need will continue to grow as more people flood into the region, which is located just 30 kilometres from an area of conflict in southern Somalia” explains Weickert.

World Vision will run its Dolo response in coordination with local partner aid agencies and hopes to expand into refugee camps on the Ethiopian side of the border in the coming weeks. This is in addition to the organisation’s existing relief operations in Ethiopia, Kenya and northern Somalia.

Note: To date New Zealanders have donated $740,000.00 to World Vision’s Horn of Africa Appeal. Further contributions can be made at www.worldvision.org.nz or by calling 0800 60 5000.

ENDS

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