News / Africa

Oxfam Brings Clean Water, Sanitation to Somali Refugees

The shrouded body of 12-month-old Liin Muhumed Surow before burial at  UNHCR's Ifo Extension camp  outside  Dadaab, Saturday Aug. 6, 2011. Liin died of malnutrition 25 days after reaching the camp, her father Mumumed said.
The shrouded body of 12-month-old Liin Muhumed Surow before burial at UNHCR's Ifo Extension camp outside Dadaab, Saturday Aug. 6, 2011. Liin died of malnutrition 25 days after reaching the camp, her father Mumumed said.
Joe DeCapua

Hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees are seeking shelter at the Dadaab refugee camp complex in northeastern Kenya.

The camps were overcrowded even before the drought and famine forced many Somalis to cross the border. Fighting between pro-government forces and militias over many years has led to what many called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

Numerous aid agencies are now working at Dadaab. On Monday, Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International, visited the camps.

“It’s pretty crowded. It’s very hot. It’s a pretty challenging place for families to turn up starving and thirsty,” he said

Somalis arriving at Dadaab are registered and given a health screening.

“There [are] a lot of people in a very crowded place in a very hot, dusty environment with nothing much to do but survive. So that’s a big challenge,” he said.

Harrowing stories

Hobbs said Oxfam members talked to many refugees at the camp. He described many of their stories as harrowing.

“We talked to a number of women because a lot of women have come without their husbands. The husbands have had to dodge for security reasons,” he said.

Many of the women have walked for 15 to 20 days to get to Dadaab.

“Some are heartbreaking stories of having to leave children who were too weak to continue walking. The women I spoke to this morning just looked –  I wouldn’t say traumatized – but just completely defeated. But also relieved to be somewhere safe for their kids and able to get some food and some water,” said Hobbs.

Digging deep

“I’m standing in kilometers of plastic piping here because we put in the water and sanitation systems for these camps. In fact, where I’m standing now will be a camp for about 80,000 people. So we put in the hard infrastructure that provides the clean water – the bores, the big gravity fed water tanks, the capstans and the pipes. But along side that we put in latrines,” he said.

Latrines provide not only more privacy, but dignity as well. Also, it is safer for women, who may risk be raped or assaulted if they leave the camp.

“We also put in support for public health and hygiene. Basically teaching people about how to use those amenities properly and safely,” he said.

At Dadaab, you have to dig deep for water.

Hobbs said, “I was astonished to find that in Dadaab they have to go down 200 meters because it’s saline if they don’t go below 180. Pretty challenging for our drilling team.”

In Somalia

Oxfam also has water and sanitation projects in southern Somalia, but Hobbs would not give the exact whereabouts for security reasons. Oxfam hopes the projects will allow people to remain in the drought-stricken areas and not travel up to 20 days to reach Dadaab.

“We can actually run quite a substantial program in Somalia and we do it through partners. We’re basically reaching out to about 300,000 people…. And we’re reach quite a large number of people, about 3,000 a week, children, with therapeutic nutrition,” he said.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid