80,000 Somalis Take Refuge in Kenya’s Dadaab Camps

The UNHCR says tens of thousands of refugees have sought sanctuary in Kenya’s Dadaab camps in recent weeks after being driven from their homes by extremist violence in neighbouring Somalia.

According to UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov, 24,000 individuals have reportedly arrived to the camp complex since the end of September, part of the more than 80,000 people who have been housed there over the last two years.

In spite of a recent slowdown in the number of daily arrivals in Dadaab, a dry region in northeast Kenya, he warned journalists in Geneva that “sufficient space in the camps… is running short.”

Displaced people wait to receive for non-food items from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees at the Kabasa transit centre for the internally displaced people in Dollow town, along the Somalia-Ethiopia border, August 30, 2011. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

As a result, many have been compelled to build improvised shelters outside of the camps, “where clean water and sanitary services are either woefully inadequate or nonexistent.”

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At Dadaab’s Dagahaley, Ifo, and Hagadera camps, “plans are under way to expand aid by providing more basic relief supplies, including dignity kits for women and girls.”

The UN agency is aiding host communities in the vicinity of Dadaab by trucking in water, repairing boreholes, and supplying power for water pumps. In order to improve healthcare access for recent arrivals and to be ready for potential cholera cases, UNHCR has also scheduled extra treatment facilities.

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