As thousands of refugees escaping the violence in Yemen continue to cross into Somalia by Sea, the autonomous state of Puntland is feeling the strain.
An estimated 5000-plus refugees have arrived in the port town of Bossaso since 1st of April when the conflict erupted in the impoverished middle-eastern country.
Puntland’s local administration in collaboration with residents have been widely praised for the joint efforts to receive the refugees and provided makeshift camps though insufficient of resources.
For new arrivals at the refugee camps, conditions remain difficult. The overcrowded camps are running shortage of resources.
Humanitarian advocates are asking why the international community isn’t doing more to financially help refugees flooding out into the region, straining limited resources and threatening stability.
‘’I don’t know why these International humanitarian organizations are not responding to this growing crisis while they have offices in Bossaso, Garowe and rest of Somalia?’’ says Ali Hassan, who works for a local NGO in Bossaso.
Puntland officials have also raised concerns on the impacts of the refugees on the region’s stability while al-Shabaab militants have increased attacks in the commercial hub city of Bossaso in recent weeks.
In a generous move, clerics and local elders have stepped up a campaign to raise funds for the refugees. They have urged businesspersons and Somali diasporas living abroad to take part in the contribution.
‘’ We have to not wait for the situation to get worse, everyone who can afford to donate something should do which will help the refugees in terms of feeding and proper housing,’’ says Sheikh Dahir Aw-Abdi.
They expect a further 50,000 refugees to arrive in the town following the truce between the Saudi-led coalition and Houthis rebels which will enable for the trapped people to leave the country.
As the number of refugees escalates, Puntland is clearly running out of patience to handle the burden of the refugees.
“Local communities are… actually supporting the refugees but there might come a time when they could suffer from frustration and we don’t want to reach that level,” said the Deputy Interior minister of Puntland, as he appealed to the International Community for an immediate intervention on the growing refugee dilemma in the region.
Published: May 16, 2015