“I still live with people. I don’t have my own shelter. My children are at home”
Aid groups in Kenya say
tens of thousands of additional refugees from Somalia are expected to arrive in
coming weeks, as Somalia and the Horn of Africa deal with an ongoing severe
drought and hunger.
Rescue Committee says 55,000 Somali refugees already have arrived in Kenya’s
Dadaab camps over the past year. The camps in northern Kenya are currently home
to about 230,000 people, most of them Somalis who fled conflict and hard living
conditions over the past few decades.
The IRC advocacy
manager in Kenya, Jamin Kusuania, said the camps are now receiving drought
victims who urgently need food and medicine.
“We are receiving
persons who have been affected by the drought, which is synonymous with
malnutrition. We are receiving malnutrition persons coming to Dadaab. We have
noted incidences of measles being found among the new arrivals coming into
Dadaab,” Kusuania said. “As IRC and others, we continue to support
through nutrition, through health provision to these particular groups of
Agencies are expecting
another 60,000 arrivals over the next six months.
Amina Ali, in her 30s,
is one of the recent arrivals. She lived in Dadaab previously, went back to
Somalia in 2017, but returned when life there became unbearable for her young
Ali said she fled the
port city of Kismayo in southern Somalia after losing her goats to drought. She
said she feels safe in the camp and got some food, but added there is not
enough support for her and her seven children.
“I still live with
people. I don’t have my own shelter. My children are at home, and they are yet
to go to school. We have many needs and would like to get more
assistance,” she said.
Those living in the
camp face overcrowding, poor sanitation and inadequate access to essential
services. The camp has recorded cases of measles and cholera, and aid agencies
fear the crowded conditions will encourage further spread of diseases.
Kusuania said the
humanitarian needs are increasing and more assistance is needed to care for the
refugees in the camp.
“Support is needed
to be able to provide nutrition to the children and the pregnant and lactating
mothers finding themselves in the country. Support is needed to be able to
ensure that there is adequate shelter for this particular category of people.
Support is needed to ensure food is available to this category of persons,
including human resources, to be able to provide psychosocial and [gender-based
violence] response to the population we are seeing arriving into the
country,” Kusuania said.
Like the rest of East
Africa, Kenya is facing a severe drought, which has made more than 4 million
people food insecure.
Aid agencies warn of
famine in Somalia if there is not enough support to increase humanitarian