SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 6 December 2022 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
Drought and conflict force 80,000 Somalis to shelter in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camps
Tens of thousands of people have sought shelter in recent weeks at Kenya’s Dadaab camps, forced from their homes by extremist violence in neighbouring Somalia and an “unrelenting” drought, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Tuesday.
An estimated 24,000 people have arrived at the camp complex since the end of September, some of the more than 80,000 taken in there in the past two years, according to
UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov.
Despite a recent drop in the pace of daily arrivals at Dadaab, an arid outpost in northeast Kenya, “adequate space in the camps …is running out”, Mr. Cheshirkov added.
This has forced many to construct makeshift shelters along the outskirts of the camps, “where clean water and sanitation facilities are either grossly insufficient or non-existent”.
Even more worrying is the cholera outbreak that has affected host and refugee communities. “Over 350 cases have been identified since the end of October; those are mainly affected children,” the UNHCR spokesperson noted.
“In one area that UNHCR teams recently visited, a family was hosting up to 28 people, eight of them had already been infected,” he continued. “Treatment centres need more personnel and supplies to help curb any further spread of the disease.”
Help has been provided to the new arrivals, including clean drinking water and extended sanitation and hygiene facilities at the outskirts of the camps.
Targeted protection services have also been put in place for the most vulnerable. “Malnourished children are being screened and admitted to stabilization centres,” Mr. Cheshirkov explained. “Plans are under way to boost assistance by providing additional basic relief items including dignity kits for women and girls” at Dadaab’s Dagahaley, Ifo and Hagadera camps.
Working with partners, the UN agency is also assisting host communities surrounding Dadaab by rehabilitating boreholes, providing generators for water pumps and trucking in water. UNHCR has also planned additional treatment centres to boost health care access for new arrivals and to prepare for future cholera infections.
Meanwhile, humanitarians remain deeply concerned about the continued failed rains and drought in the Horn of Africa region, which Mr. Cheshirkov described as “the longest and most severe” in decades.
“Some 4.5 million Kenyans, mainly in the northern and eastern parts of the country, are also battling with the effects of the devastating drought,” he explained.