Published On: Sat, Dec 29th, 2012

MSF: More refugees to worsen state of Kenya camp

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NAIROBI, Kenya —

The health of thousand   s of Somali refugees will be threatened if they are moved from the country’s urban areas into a camp near the Kenyan-Somali border, an international aid group has said.

Dadaab refugee camp is overstretched well beyond its original capacity of 90,000 people and to add more refugees will worsen the humanitarian conditions of the camp and increase the risk of disease epidemics, said Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, in a statement Friday.

Earlier this month the Kenyan government decided that all refugees and asylum seekers must return to refugee camps. The decision to move Somali refugees to Dadaab was made because of ongoing insecurity in the country. Kenya has endured more than a year of attacks by explosives and guns which have been blamed on sympathizers of Somali militants who are being fought by Kenyan troops in Somalia.

Dadaab Camp’s squalid living conditions and insufficient assistance have been compounded by increasing insecurity over the last year, according to MSF.

“The assistance provided in Dadaab is already completely overstretched and cannot meet existing needs,” said Dr. Elena Velilla, MSF’s head of mission in Kenya. “In the event of an influx of new arrivals, MSF would not be able to increase its assistance or respond to a new emergency due to ongoing insecurity.”

Since the beginning of December, heavy rains have flooded the camps, and the already fragile shelter and sanitation conditions have become even more deplorable, with dramatic consequences for the population’s health, said Velilla.

The number of children hospitalized for severe acute malnutrition has doubled, with approximately 300 children hospitalized. Most of them are also suffering from acute watery diarrhoea or severe respiratory tract infections, attributable to the poor living conditions in the camps.

The government through the Department of Refugee Affairs said in a statement earlier this month that Kenya hosts refugees from nine countries. However, given the security environment in Kenya, it’s clear the government is most concerned about the hundreds of thousands of refugees from Somalia. Hosting so many refugees, the statement said, brings many challenges, including “rampant insecurity” in refugee camps and urban areas.

“It is in this public domain that many people have been killed and several more injured with grenade attacks in our streets, churches, and buses and in business places,” the statement said.

The government said that due to the “unbearable and uncontrollable threat to national security” it had decided that all refugees and asylum seekers from Somalia must return to the large refugee camp complex known as Dadaab, a seemingly endless expanse of refugee housing on the sands of Kenya close to the Somali border. More than 400,000 refugees live in Dadaab, making it the largest refugee camp in the world.

An explosion went off near a voter registration center in Dadaab , wounding one person on Dec 14. The camp has seen several small bomb attacks over the last year.

Kenya sent military forces into Somalia in late 2011. Since then, the country has seen a series of small-scale attacks on churches, bars and at public transportation stops. Most attacks are small, but they have occurred every several weeks for nearly a year. Five people were killed and more than a dozen wounded after an attacker threw a grenade outside a mosque in the Somali neighborhood of Nairobi this month.

Following that attack, security forces began targeting hundreds of refugees who live in that neighborhood, Eastleigh, which is sometimes referred to as “Little Mogadishu.” Hundreds of people of Somali origin have been arrested, many because of their immigration status.

 

Source: AP

  • Buuxiye

    The Main reason to PUSH most Somalis back into the Refugee camps is to limit their influence in the country specially considering the upcoming elections.

    Leadership and political proportional representation in Kenya is dependent on simply one thing and one thing alone:

    - Tribal population share in the country.

    1. Kikiyu rank Top at 7.5million
    2. Luo 6.4million
    3. Meru 6.0million
    X. Somali 1.0Million

    We all know the real Somali population in Kenya is in excess of 5Million, However the strategy used to divide them is simply, Somalis who are in the NFD are about 3Million and are not permitted to vote under the pretext of being Migrants from Somalia even though the Somalia refugees are all held in camps are less then 1million. The Somalis in isli and Nairobi and rest of the country are around 3-4million however they are not included in the political system because they are considered refugees even though majority of them are 3-4th generation somalis left behind by the British.

    Conducting a fair census and accepting the real Somali population in Kenya who are of Kenyan Birth right will reveal the hidden Secret of the State of Kenya. Somalis are the second largest ethnic community within Kenya borders and it is only a matter of Time when Kenya either allows them to take the rightful place of 2nd most numerous group within Kenyan political sphere and award them the seat of Prime minister or prepare Kenya for a referendum where NFD will be given the RIGHT to vote for out right Independence from Kenya!

    Choice ahead for Kenya

    1. Independent NFD = 35% of Kenya lost.
    2. Give Somalis the Seat of Prime Minister since they own 35% of the State of Kenya!

  • Buuxiye

    http://www.uusc.org/files/ai%20bmp%20eps%20gif%20

    35% of Kenya is Owned by Somalis. Yet Kenyas are asking the Somalis to live in refugee camps???

    It is Modern slavery!

  • mohamed cheers

    The Dadaab Somali refugees have been in the Somali NFD kenya since 1991 and with their
    children born in Somali Kenyan soil should give them some kind of permanent citizenship.
    As for the NFD Kenyan Somalis, the problem is their failure to be worthy of recognition as a
    strong kenyan ethnicities bcos of the NFD Somalis leadership failures to look after their
    constituencies lyk the rest of the Kenyan ethnicities. Please note here that Somalis are holding
    high ministerial positions including the defence etc, yet you see how the NFD Somalis are of the
    low of the lowest just lyk the failed Somalia? Mother Nature powers help those who help themselves.
    Don't blame the Govt of PM Raila Odinga who's a good man but you NFD Somali leaders blame
    yourselves for failing to serve your NFD people and the Refugees. Damn you all. Shameful
    scumbags.
    Cheers.

  • mohamed cheers

    Folks, happy new year.
    Cheers.

  • Gare

    I am not defending kenya, but kenya have strongest economy whole of east africa. so, don't tell us somalis going back their homeland will hurt kenya economy let's be realistic here it's even 10% GPD kenya.

    Since moryaanos move from mogadishu kenya become unstable, kidnapping, throwing hand grenades into public areas and so forth

  • Gare

    correc.. it's not even 10% GPD kenya.

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