INTRODUCTION: The conflict in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia has produced enormous refugee problems for neighbouring Somalia.
JALLALAQSI, SOMALIA (VISNEWS - BOB DIETZ)
GV/LV & SV Refugees registering at Jallalaqsi Camp (3 shots)
SV's Refugees getting registered, getting indelible ink mark on hands (3 shots)
SV Refugees being instructed by officials (2 shots)
SV Refugees filing past man in white turban (official) entering area for making (3 shots)
GV Troops ushering refugees along (3 shots)
Background: INTRODUCTION: The conflict in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia has produced enormous refugee problems for neighbouring Somalia. Thousands of people have fled the area to escape continued fighting between Somalia-backed guerrillas and Ethiopian troops. Faced with the massive task of feeding and housing the refugees, after years of droughts then widespread crop damage from recent torrential rains -- Somalia relics heavily on international aid. Following claims by the United Nations that the figure of one-point-three million is overstated by around 50 per cent, the government of President Siad Barre has commissioned a count of refugees in order to justify the level of foreign aid.
SYNOPSIS: The census at Camp Number Two in Jallalaqsi, near the capital Mogadishu started early in the morning. The process was being repeated at the four other Jallalaqsi camps and in other areas housing refugees. There are some 33 camps in Somalia and to include them all counting began two weeks ago (25 October).
The procedure was for each person to be marked with an indelible blue ink on their right hand. Small children and babies received the stain on a foot. They are then counted by both a Somali official and a representative of the refugees. Every 15 minutes the counters who were keeping tally would enter their figures on a master sheet.
The queues were orderly although many people had to wait some hours before they passed the official counting point. Once final tabulation has been made by both sets of statistics, the two independent figures will be passed to a committee. This committee is made up of representatives from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the Somalia National Refugee Commission. They will discuss the results before issuing an 'official ' figure. Newsmen who saw the count taking place viewed the exercise with some scepticism.
They said refugees had told them the ink could be washed off with a scrubbing brush of by using chlorine crystals which where available from the camp's water purification system. Because of this claims were made that there was fairly widespread cheating with some people being registered more than once.
Somalia needs to be able to justify its aid claims, following the conflict with United Nations estimates. In June this year, the UN said a figure of around 650,000 was being used for food programmes and other refugee purposes. This number falls well short of the government's and results in only half the aid Somalia is seeking.
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