“Somali refugees escape conflict, find newfound hope in baffling new settlement”

Friday May 12, 2023

Unimaginable terror and displacement, combined with the necessary migration to a new, unfamiliar land during an already tumultuous time. These are just a few of the harrowing experiences that Hinda and her children have faced, ultimately leading them to a place of refuge and hope in Ethiopia.

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With unwavering bravery, Hinda and her family fled their homeland of Somalia in hopes of finding peace in Ethiopia. The journey was long and treacherous, requiring a three-hour walk followed by a truck ride with 54 other refugees. As the journey continued, Hinda and her children were reminded of the horrors they had left behind by the sound of a slamming bus door. Once they arrived in Ethiopia, they faced a different kind of uncertainty, struggling to find a place to stay without a steady income and missing their comfortable life in Somalia.

The influx of refugees escaping their war-torn country continues to grow, leading to the need for critical aid and support. The World Food Programme has provided essential food commodities for over 84,000 Somali refugees, while many others are left staying in overcrowded shelters, medical centres, and schools or sleeping outdoors. While many are being housed by gracious Ethiopian families, others are being relocated to the newly established settlement in Mirqaan.

After their arrival in Ethiopia, Hinda and her children were the first among a group of refugees to be relocated to the settlement in Mirqaan. They were given a family tent for refuge and much-needed access to water. Hinda was also registered for humanitarian aid and became a community leader, a role that allowed her to assist in the development of the site.

UNHCR, as well as local authorities, are working towards integration and harmony among all communities. Needs are being assessed to aid both refugees and hosts, including support for schools and health centers. Hugues Bissot, UNHCR’s emergency coordinator, stated that “The Government of Ethiopia, UNHCR and partners are doing their utmost to facilitate the inclusion of refugees in local communities and have them share services with our support.”

While the journey to a new life has been filled with challenges for Hinda and her children, they finally have hope for a safer and ultimately better life.

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