News / Africa

Somali Refugees Continue to Pour into Dadaab

Save the Children says aid groups face daunting task

Dadaab, refugee camp Eastern Kenya, 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Somali border
Dadaab, refugee camp Eastern Kenya, 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Somali border
Kim Lewis

The humanitarian organization Save the Children says Somali refugees continue to pour into the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya.

It says about 1,000 to 1,500 refugees are arriving every day, and of that number about 800 are children.

Definition of Famine:

The word famine is a term that is not used lightly by humanitarian organizations. The United Nations describes a crisis as a famine only when the following conditions are met:

  • Malnutrition rates exceed 30 percent
  • More than two people per 10,000 people are dying each day
  • Severe lack of food access for large population

Current Famine:

    Almost half of Somalia's population, 3.7 million people, are affected by the current crisis with malnutrition rates in southern Somalia the highest in the world, surpassing 50 per cent in some areas. The United Nations says it is likely that tens of thousands have already have died, the majority of those being children.

    The drought that has led to the current famine in parts of Somalia has also affected people in Kenya and Ethiopia.

    Previous Famines in the Horn of Africa:

  • Somalia 1991-1992
  • Ethiopia 1984-1985
  • Ethiopia 1974

“Children are arriving from Somalia malnourished, sick and also psychologically very fragile.  Many of them have been walking or taking donkey carts for days or weeks, and they arrive in really bad shape," said Lane Hartill, a representative of Save the Children.  He is currently at Dadaab.

Hartill said Save The Children has monitors at the reception centers who look for cases of children who are unaccompanied or “who have become separated from their families because we know on the way that parents often send their children on or become separated from their children,” said Hartill.

One contributing factor to children being separated from their parents is bandit attacks during nights.

These attacks result in family members fleeing in fear and becoming separated.
“So children arrive alone, scared, and we’re ready to help them,” said Hartill.

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