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Friday, 02 December 2011

Ban on aid agencies likely to fuel a new exodus of Somali refugees

The European Commission strongly condemns the recent Al Shabaab announcement of the expulsion of 16 humanitarian aid agencies working in Somalia. This action will have disastrous effects on the capacity of humanitarian agencies to respond to the current emergency fuelled by prolonged conflict and drought.

"With limited access to humanitarian aid, thousands of Somalis will inevitably attempt crossing the borders and seek assistance in neighbouring Ethiopia and Kenya," says Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner responsible for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Civil Response.

"Refugee camps in these two countries have been struggling to cope with the dramatic influx of people witnessed during the peak of the current Horn of Africa crisis. A new wave of refugees will further strain the humanitarian coping capacity in these camps," explains Commissioner Georgieva. "Recent military activity inside South Central Somalia will make this last-resort journey even more perilous than it was a few months ago."

Many of the targeted agencies are key implementing partners of the European Commission humanitarian response in Somalia. "The expulsion of our partners has a direct impact on the European Commission's capacity to assist the most vulnerable members of the Somali population," says Commissioner Georgieva. These agencies were implementing life saving interventions such as ensuring access to basic health services, and providing food and water.

Source: European Commission