These photos detail the distribution of clothing to refugees residing in Shimelba refugee camp in northern Ethiopia. The camp currently hosts more than 17,900 of the 23,500 refugees from Eritrea living in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Administration for Refugee/Returnee Affairs (ARRA), an implementing partner of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), oversaw the distribution in late April 2008.
Crowd Gathers Outside Distribution Center: The bare ground and the women’s umbrellas convey the camp’s hot, dry, shadeless environment. The distribution process will take several hours. The Line Outside the Center: For several years, many refugees have worn only the single piece of clothes they had on their backs when they left Eritrea. Here, aid recipients line up outside the barbed wire and thorny barrier of the distribution center. Crowd Control: As the size of the crowd increases, these young men decide how many individuals can enter the center at a time. Checking Identification: Camp officials verify each refugee’s identification before he or she enters the distribution center. Once verification is completed, a hole is punched in the refugee’s ration card and their name is crossed off the clothing ditribution list. Not Quite Like The Gap: Newly arrived clothing is individually wrapped and stored in these bulk bags. What’s On Offer: T-shirts, jeans, trousers, skirts, and jackets in a range of sizes are available. The clothing is new, donated by companies overseas. Each refugee is permitted to take only a couple of items at this distribution. Sample Clothing: A camp official provides a closer look at one of the sample items.