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Thousands suffer at Ethiopian border
There is an ongoing desperation in Somalia and Ethiopia, the poorest countries of the world in Horn of Africa, which suffers from its worst drought in 60 years. The IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation
Africa, Somalia 08.08.2011

IHH teams that reached the camp in Artsek region on the Somali border which is 70 kilometers away from the capital city of Jijiga, delivered  food aid which included 300 tons of corn, 2 tons of vegetable oil and 3 tons of dates to 3,000 Somali people.

Around 1.2 million people live in makeshift shelters in Artsek on the Somali border. Osman Atalay, a member of the IHH Executive Board, said he has witnessed people living in the area which they call “camp” but actually lack the basic infrastructural means for 11 years. Atalay said these people who even do not have access to fundamental needs such as water and toilet, have been fighting against diseases and deaths for years.

Atalay also explained that the people who left their homes due to drought 11 years ago and came to the Ethiopian border have not returned back to their homes. “When we came to this region in 2000 when there was a severe drought again, we brought aid to those people but when we came here 11 years later again, we have seen that nothing has changed and they continue to live under difficult circumstances,” said Atalay.

“Today, nearly all the people who migrated to Ethiopia from Somali and Kenya will never return back to their homes,” said Atalay, adding that the people in the region are suffering from a variety of diseases due to malnutrition such as swollen abdomens, hair and skin diseases, cataracts, malaria, diarrhea and tuberculosis. 

The IHH official also explained that emergency aid dispatched to the region does not bring a long-term solution as he added: “We need to look for ways to prevent drought and poverty in the region. We need to invest on projects for digging ponds and we need to open water wellsa and develop animal catering, or else, we can never heal the wounds of these people.”

Atalay reiterated that aid campaigns launched by non-governmental organizations should turn into permanent projects, announcing that the IHH has completed the construction of six water wells and one pond and launched the construction of two water wells in the region. 

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