The Environmental Impacts of Refugee Settlement. The case of Kebribeyah Refugee Camp Settlement; Somali National Regional State (SNRS)

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Addis Ababa University


The Somali rejilgee influx into Ethiopia started with the civil war in the northern parts of Somalia in 1988. The influx increased significantly with the fall of the Said Barre regime in 1991 which lead to the establishment of nine refugee camps in eastern Ethiopia with a total population of 628,000 Somali refugees. According to ARRA 2008 report, the recent civil and instability in Somalia atso led to new arrival of refugees in Kebribeyah and the surrounding areas. The arrival of these refugees coupled with their long stay in the area negatively impacted the forest, water and the land of Kebribeyah. The failure to tackle the problem and to take some measures before it turn to the worst level made the situation to be persuasive to other social and economic problems and became a cause for competition, conflict and unrest between the refugee and the host community. Failure to manage the natural resources utilization of the rejilgee and failure to intervene the environment appropriately according to the UNHCR environmental guide line for refugee hosting areas in the appropriate time made the situation to be worse rather than bad. Generally, this study is conducted with the objective of assessing the impacts of refugees on the environments of Kebribeyah. And specifically, establishing baseline to kebribeyah, identifY and assess if there is competition and conflicts associated with the scarcity induced by rejilgee and also to identifY and also assess the natural resource management activity in the area. To achieve these, the study relied on both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis. The secondary data were collected form published and unpublished documents from websites and different local and international organizations. Primary data were collected by using both qualitative and quantitative data gathering tools and analyzed through employing both qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis and through triangulating data from the secondwy and primary sources. The finding of the study showed that, the arrival of huge number of refugees in different time in Kebribeyah damaged the fragile environment and depleted the scarce natural resources. There is a problem of declining trend of production, scarcity of firewood, scarcity and deterioration of water and water sources which resulted jrom the boom of rejilgee influxes and the resulting resources scramble in the area. In turn, these shortage and deterioration of resources led to competition and conflict between the refugee and host communities. If is also identified that the natural resources management found in the area is minimal and lack consistency in its intervention to offset the negative impacts and enhance the environmental capacity. The result also further suggests the need for participatory NRM practices in the area to ensure the sustainability of the environment and also to make the livelihood activity of both host and refUgee community sustainable.



Environmental Impacts of, Refugee Settlement