A growing tide of Somalis fleeing conflict at home has led to overcrowding in refugee camps in neighbouring Kenya and the United Nations does not expect the influx to ease soon, a UN official said. The Dadaab refugee camp in arid Northern Kenya received 62,000 new arrivals from Somalia in 2008 compared with only 18,000 in the previous year, UN refugee agency UNHCR said. “In January 2009 more than 7,000 new arrivals have already been registered,” UNHCR deputy director Craig Johnstone told reporters during a visit to the camp on Wednesday. Many hope that the election of a new Somali president, moderate Islamist Sheikh Sharif Ahmed may restore a lasting peace and stability in the horn of Africa country and end the outflow of agencies. About 17,400 civilians have died and millions have been displaced during a raging insurgency that began two years ago. Aid workers say Somalia’s humanitarian crisis-in which a third of the 10 million population needs food aid-is the worst in the world.



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