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

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora