UN: Drought-hit Somalis dying in Ethiopia UN camps

AP News
Posted: Jul 08, 2011 12:32 PM

The head of the U.N.'s refugee agency says Somalis fleeing hunger and drought are dying in high numbers in refugee camps in southeastern Ethiopia.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres says 3 out of every 10,000 refugees die each day. Health officer Dr. Dejene Kebede says 58 people died in one week alone in June in the overcrowded camps.

Guterres says those death rates are three times the emergency level. He says malnutrition is to blame.

UNHCR says up to 2,000 Somali refugees cross into Ethiopia each day. Thousands also seek refuge in neighboring Kenya.

Aid agencies are appealing for tens of millions of dollars in emergency funding to fight a drought that has created a triangle of hunger where the borders of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia meet.