News / Africa

Pushed to the Edge at Kenya's Dadaab Refugee Camps

Somali refugees wait in line to receive food rations at a World Food Program distribution point in Ifo Camp, outside Dadaab, Kenya, July 15, 2011
Somali refugees wait in line to receive food rations at a World Food Program distribution point in Ifo Camp, outside Dadaab, Kenya, July 15, 2011

Multimedia

Gabe Joselow

Thousands of Somali refugees are continuing to pour into Kenya's Dadaab refugee camps.  But as they flee hardships at home, they face new challenges at the overstretched facilities.

Dahabo Salat is a 22-year-old refugee from Somalia. She is one of 300 new arrivals, waiting outside the gates of Dagahely camp - one of the three Kenyan refugee camps accepting Somalians fleeing drought and violence.

Like many others here, she comes from a farming family.  She decided to head here to Dadaab, with her two children, after all of her livestock died from the drought.  She expects her husband to make the long journey in the coming days.

“Here we expect to be given food, where we came from we could not afford food.  We were pastoralists and we lost everything,” she said.

Salat is taken into the camp and given a new pair of sandals, a medical screening for her family and two week's worth of flour, cornmeal, beans and oil.

She and other refugees are even greeted warmly by a group of local Somali youths and religious leaders who welcome new arrivals.

Some are also camp residents.

Osman Barre, one of the organizers of this unofficial welcoming committee, arrived at the Dadaab camps in 1992, when he was just a child. “When they see their fellow Somali people receiving them at reception they also feel that they are being taken care of they also feel that they are part of the Somali community,” he said.

Refugees come to the camps not only as a place to seek shelter, but  as a chance for opportunities they could not get at home.  They can receive health care and their children can go to school.

And life inside the camp is not unlike small-town life outside. There are shops selling mobile phones, restaurants and hotels.  It feels like a small village.

But Dadaab is getting more crowded with 1,200 new arrivals a day and it is running out of room.

So, like 70,000 others, new arrivals are being pushed to the outskirts of the camp.

On the dusty, windswept plain outside of Dagehely camp, thousands of people have set up temporary shelters - huts, mostly, held together with discarded tarps and bags marked with the logos of various United Nations agencies.

The people out here live illegally, on Kenyan government land, fending for themselves outside the reach of most of the non-governmental organizations providing aid.

Abukar Mukhtar made the journey here in June but he was not able to register with the camp, because of a riot that broke out that day over food.

Because he has not registered, he does not have a food ration card and cannot get the weekly food supply.  So he begs from other refugees at the market in Dagehely.

He says “We were helped by relatives who know this place and they brought us here; when we don’t have anything to eat they will bring us food.”

The camps were originally built to hold 90,000 people and are now home to about 400,000.

The Kenyan prime minister, Raila Odinga, has said the government will provide more camp space but that will take time.  

With no early end in sight for the drought and the ongoing political turmoil in Somalia, international organizations are appealing for more help providing for those who have been pushed to the outskirts.

You May Like

Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Unlikely Before Monday

Tension builds over possible indictment of white police officer in shooting death of black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current Russian-backed rebels’ fight in east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid