News / Africa

IKEA Donates $62 Million to Dadaab Refugee Complex

Overcrowding, malnutrition and illness among the refugees at camp

Kim Lewis

The IKEA Foundation has donated $62-million dollars to the world’s largest refugee camp, the Dadaab Refugee Complex in Kenya.

The United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR says this is the largest donation they have ever received from a private donor in their 60 year history and it is also the first time a private body has chosen to directly support a major refugee complex.

Adrian Edwards is a UNHCR spokesperson based in Geneva.  He explained how this significant contribution will be distributed.

“It is staggered over three years.  We are initially putting it towards the needs of people within the camp who recently arrived.  There’s massive overcrowding in this camp as a result of the present situation in Somalia.  And then we’re working with the foundation on exactly how to put the money to use in the second and third year,” said Edwards.

With the recent influx of 150,000 Somali refugees to an already over- crowded camp, Edwards said tension is very high.

“What we are seeing are massive problems because of the overcrowding, malnutrition and illness among the refugees. So our main emergency lifesaving work is getting help to those newly arrived, and in really critical condition,” said Edwards.

He said the agency is also working to find space just for people to live in the camp.  During a recent visit to there, Edwards said he saw grim conditions.

“You’d see people burying bodies outside where they live.  It’s a chaotic situation, a classic refugee emergency and we need urgent help there now,” said Edwards.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antionio Guterres is on a three day visit to the horn of Africa.  Edwards said his visit is a very important one to that part of the world on the occasion of Eid il-Fitr.

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