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Kenya Wants to Stop Flow of Somali Refugees


Abdi Nur Ibrahim, 1, who is being treated for severe malnutrition, is cared for by his older sister at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Dagahaley Camp, outside Dadaab, Kenya, July 15, 2011

Abdi Nur Ibrahim, 1, who is being treated for severe malnutrition, is cared for by his older sister at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Dagahaley Camp, outside Dadaab, Kenya, July 15, 2011

Kenyan and British officials met in Nairobi Sunday to discuss the drought that has sent thousands of Somalis fleeing into Kenya to escape starvation.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said Kenya would like feeding programs to be set up on the Somali side of the border to stop the flow of refugees.

He also renewed a call for greater international help in dealing with the crisis caused by the drought.

Overcrowded camps in Kenya's Dadaab area are housing an estimated 440,000 Somali refugees, more than four times the number of people the camps were meant to hold.

Kenya agreed on Friday to reopen an unused camp in eastern Dadaab to ease the overcrowding.

Odinga spoke after meeting with British minister for international development, Andrew Mitchell. On Saturday, Mitchell said Britain is providing $83 million in emergency aid to assist drought victims.

The aid is intended for Somali refugees at camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as hundreds of thousands of malnourished people in Kenya and Somalia.

The Horn of Africa is experiencing its worst drought in 60 years, sending thousands of Somalis who have no food into neighboring countries for help.

The United Nations and aid groups say thousands of Somalis are arriving in Kenya every week after walking for days with little food or water. They say some are dying along the way or shortly after arriving.

On Sunday, Pope Benedict urged the international community to move quickly to address what he called the "humanitarian catastrophe."

The U.N. has appealed for $136 million in additional aid to help drought victims.

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