News / Africa

Somali Refugees May Face Severe Aid Shortages

A newly arrived Somali family carry their supply of aid outside Dadaab, Eastern Kenya, Aug. 5, 2011. (AP)A newly arrived Somali family carry their supply of aid outside Dadaab, Eastern Kenya, Aug. 5, 2011. (AP)
x
A newly arrived Somali family carry their supply of aid outside Dadaab, Eastern Kenya, Aug. 5, 2011. (AP)
A newly arrived Somali family carry their supply of aid outside Dadaab, Eastern Kenya, Aug. 5, 2011. (AP)
Joe DeCapua
Aid agencies warn that tens of thousands of lives may be at risk as supplies run out at the world’s largest refugee camp. They say 25 million dollars in emergency funds are needed for humanitarian operations at Kenya’s Dadaab camp.

Aid agencies say funding has not kept pace with the growing needs at Dadaab. Oxfam spokesman Alun McDonald said the funds are needed in the next two or three months.



“One year ago we had this massive influx of people from Somalia fleeing the famine and the conflict that were taking place inside Somalia. And the pictures of people arriving in the camp having walked for weeks across the desert with no food and water really captured the world’s attention, and got of a lot of attention on Dadaab. But then a year later a lot of that attention has faded away,” he said.

Dadaab is made up of 5 separate camps in northeastern Kenya. It’s 20 years old and was already overcrowded before last year’s influx of refugees.

“The camp is bigger than ever. There are 160,000 people who arrived last year and in total there are nearly a half a million people now in the camp. But the funding available for the camp is only really at the levels it was before the big influx last year. So we’re faced with a camp that has growing needs but less money,” said McDonald.

The agencies say the funding shortfall threatens essential services including water, sanitation, health care and shelter.

“Some people in the camp are living in fairly well-established areas where there are houses made of brick and made of stone. So those are fine. The issue is with a lot of the people who arrived last year. They’ve been living in basic tents sort of on the edge of the camp and the extreme heat that you get in Dadaab and also the heavy rains and the heavy wind – these sort of flimsy tents tend to wear away very quickly within a few months,” he said.

McDonald said about 30,000 new shelters are currently needed, but there’s only money for about 4,000. He says over the next few months the gap will widen.

The Oxfam spokesman added funding is also needed for education.

“At the moment the majority of children in Dadaab don’t get a good education. So it makes it very hard for the children to then go back to Somalia and play a constructive role in the peace process there. And it also increases the chance of them being recruited into militia or banditry activity if there are no alternative jobs,” he said.

He said, in fairness to donors, there are many other humanitarian crises demanding their attention. This includes the hunger crisis in West Africa’s Sahel region.

“We do need to look at the long-term future of Dadaab. So we really need a solution that doesn’t involve us having to keep pumping money year after year into the camp. We need a peaceful solution in Somalia so that people can go home,” he said.

He said refugees should also receive skills training so they can find jobs when they eventually return to Somalia.

Oxfam is joined in making the $25 million appeal by CARE, Catholic Relief Services, the Danish Refugee Council, International Rescue Committee, Lutheran World Federation, Save the Children and Terre des Hommes.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs