News / Africa

Jaundice, Cholera Hit Kenya’s Dadaab Camps

Newly arrived Somali refugees ride a donkey along the street at the Ifo Extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, October 19, 2011.
Newly arrived Somali refugees ride a donkey along the street at the Ifo Extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, October 19, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +
Selah Hennessy
— The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) is working to improve sanitation conditions at the world’s largest refugee settlement in Kenya following an outbreak of jaundice.  More than 200 cases of acute jaundice have been reported in the Dadaab refugee camps.

“We had actually four deaths.  Those were actually mothers who had given birth," said UNHCR spokesperson Mans Nyberg, speaking to VOA from Dadaab.

The jaundice cases have been reported across all five camps in the refugee settlement, which is home to more than 400,000 people, most of them Somali.

Nyberg says he expects the number of reported jaundice cases to rise because there is a one month incubation period.

He says the outbreak has happened because of problems with sanitation.  New arrivals have come in using poor hygiene, he says.

On top of that, the complex is overcrowded and the infrastructure is strained.

The Dadaab camps are located in Kenya less than 160 kilometers from the border with Somalia.  Last year, around 130,000 refugees arrived from Somalia in the space of a few weeks, fleeing severe drought and famine.

Nyberg says it’s been difficult to keep pace with the expanding population. “The sanitation situation in some areas of the camps is quite bad and latrines are overflowing and people are defecating in the open, and so on,” he said.

He says in order to resolve the situation, UNHCR is bringing in thousands of new latrines and working to raise awareness about the importance of hand-washing, use of latrines, food and water hygiene.

UNHCR says health workers are also being trained to make active searches for new jaundice cases.

Meanwhile Kenyan authorities have reported some 80 cases of cholera in North Eastern Province, 18 of them in Dadaab camps.  A cholera isolation ward has been opened at one camp hospital.  Nyberg says right now the situation is under control.

“Of course, it is a serious situation," he said. "But we have 18 cases so far and we are absolutely in the position to deal with 100 cases so it is not an emergency - yet.”

There have been no reported cholera deaths at Dadaab so far.

UNHCR says it is concerned that waterborne diseases could spread when the rainy season begins in October and November.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid