Relief SCENE:Refugees
19 Somalis Die on Way to Djibouti
Group Died of Thirst During Long Trek, Say Officials
By AWEYS CADDE 07/25/2011
The bodies of at least 19 Somalis and four Ethiopians who apparently died of thirst have been found by Djibouti border guards in the desolate border region with Somaliland, an official and residents said.

Four other men, who were unable to travel due to fatigue, were found alive. The group was apparently fleeing the drought that has gripped Somalia.

“These people were caught by the heat ... during this time Djibouti experiences a very hot period which forces people who are fleeing across the borders to travel a long distance without water,” said Guled Hiirrey, a resident in the border town of Dameerjoog.

Temperatures in Djibouti can soar as high as 45 degrees Celsius between June and August.

Speaking to the local media, the deputy commander of Somaliland police, Cornel Abdirahman Liban Fohle, confirmed the event and warned those trying to cross the borders illegally not to risk their life.

“We are planning to take measures against those people who are helping others to cross the border illegally, and take advantage of them without feeling mercy,” he said.

Thousands of Somalis have died over the last two decades as they brave arid lands or rough seas to seek a life away from seemingly never-ending conflict and hardship in their homeland.

This year alone, more than 100,000 Somalis have sought refugee in neighboring countries, predominantly Ethiopia and Kenya, according to UN figures.