From Somalia to Manitoba: A look at the long journey of asylum seekers

In News by MIIC

Asylum seekers move carefully along a railway overpass in Emerson, Man. Many of the people coming into Manitoba are originally from Somalia. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

The snow-covered fields around the Emerson, Man., border have become a pathway for many asylum seekers hoping to make a refugee claim in Canada — a colder trek than most have experienced on their long journeys from around the world.

Many of the people coming into Manitoba are originally from Somalia, a country located in the Horn of Africa, bordered by Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya.

There are many reasons people flee Somalia — devastating famine, a staggering unemployment rate, the threats of al-Shabaab and a civil war that has been ongoing for more than 25 years — but not all planned to end up in the Canadian Prairie province.

As Manitoba deals with an influx of refugee claimants, it is addressing the fallout of a war and famine thousands of kilometres away.

Why are people fleeing Somalia?

Somalia is experiencing a devastating drought that has led to famine which could affect 6.2 million people, the United Nations estimates.

Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made an emergency visit to the country and called on the world to act immediately to prevent more deaths from the famine.

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