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UNHCR Reports 10 Children Dying Daily And Women Facing Risk Of Rape In Ethiopian Refugee Camps

“Ten Somali children under the age of five are dying every day of hunger-related causes in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, according to the U.N. refugee agency,” the Guardian reports (Rice, 8/16). UNHCR “said high child mortality levels had been compounded by a suspected measles outbreak at the 25,000-capacity Kobe camp,” but children are now receiving vaccinations, according to BBC News (8/16).

“Most of the Somali refugees arriving in Ethiopia are from rural areas, and many have never used formal health facilities before. Ron Redmond, a UNHCR spokesman in Nairobi, said this was a factor in the high death rate because parents did not know what to do with their malnourished children, even after receiving initial treatment and handouts of therapeutic food,” the Guardian writes (8/16).

Agence France-Presse reports on how women and children in the refugee camps face the risk of rape, writing that while reported “[i]ncidents of sexual violence are relatively low … aid workers warn the situation could worsen.” The U.N. “has recorded 87 incidents of sexual violence in the [Ethiopian] camps, but U.N. statistician Susanne Butscher admits data collection is imprecise since not all women report abuse or rape,” AFP writes (Vaughan, 8/16).

“The famine in the Horn of Africa is manmade – the result of artificially high prices for food and civil conflict, the World Bank’s lead economist for Kenya Wolfgang Fengler told Reuters Tuesday.” In a telephone interview, Fengler said, “Droughts have occurred over and again, but you need bad policymaking for that to lead to a famine,” the news agency reports (Hildebrand, 8/16).