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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid