Somalia, located in the horn of Africa has experienced ongoing conflict since the collapse of its central government in 1991. It is estimated over one million people have died as a result of famine and ongoing fighting between rival warloads.
Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Somalis have been forced to flee their homes, many into to neighbouring countries. As of January 2012, there are an estimated 1,500,000 internally displaced people (IDP) in Somalia. Of those, only 600,000 are capable of receiving assistance from the UN, due to ongoing instability and the closure of many areas of the country. According to UNHCR data, in January 2011 there were 770,154 Somali refugees, bringing the total population of concern to more than 2.25 million people. Those numbers have continued to grow and by January 2012, the countries with the largest populations of Somali refugees are Kenya (479,000), Yemen (221,500) and Ethiopia (117,720).
The majority of IDPs in Somalia live in extremely congested settlements, on privately owned land, without water and sanitation facilities. They are frequently subjected to abuse and exploitation.
In 2010-2011, Australia granted 190 Somali refugees with offshore humanitarian visas, according to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. To put that into perspective, that means Australia has accepted .02467 – or one quarter of one percent of one percent – of Somalia’s refugees in that period. Refugees from Somalia have not once figured in the top ten nationalities to apply for asylum onshore since 2000.