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DHC, IKEA CEO visited Kobe & Bur Amino camps

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DHC, IKEA CEO visited Kobe & Bur Amino camps

, 14 Feb 2012

As part of a two-day mission to Ethiopia (9-10 Feb.), UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Alexander T. Aleinikoff and the Chief Executive Officer of IKEA Foundation, Mr. Per Heggenes, visited Kobe and Bur Amino camps on 10 February 2012. The two officials appreciated the progress being made to address Kobe’s alarming mortality rate in such a short time.

Kobe, one of five refugee camps in the Dollo Ado area, experienced its worst mortality rate in July and August of last year due to a number of factors including high levels of malnutrition and a measles outbreak. A series of health and nutritional interventions by UNHCR and its health partners resulted in bringing crude mortality rate in the camp to well below the emergency threshold of 1 death per 10,000 per day.

Bur Amino, the newest refugee camp in Ethiopia, is home to about 13,000 refugees. Some of the facilities are still under development.

Mr. Aleinikoff and Mr. Heggenes were here, among other things, to explore possibilities for IKEA Foundation’s partnership in the Ethiopian refugee programme, particularly in Dollo Ado. The Foundation, which was set up by the world’s largest furniture retailer-IKEA, has been looking for “innovative ways of caring for refugees”. Mr. Heggenes described the experience as “very interesting and very different from the camps I have seen before” and said that his office will soon despatch a team of experts to the area to closely look into the details of their planned intervention.

Last year, IKEA Foundation donated $62 million to UNHCR to finance its emergency relief programmes in the Dadab refugee complex in Kenya.

The UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner met and discussed refugee issues with senior government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Haile-Mariam Dessalegn. In his discussions with the officials, Mr. Aleinikoff said that UNHCR highly regards Ethiopia’s open-door policy towards refugees.

As of 9 February 2012, the five refugee camps in Dollo Ado accommodated a total of 144,338 Somali refugees.