Somali refugees continue to arrive in Kenya. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says since last Friday, some 2,000 have crossed the border. The refugees say they’re worried about the fighting between Somalia’s interim government and the Islamic Courts Union.
Emanuel Nyabera is a spokesperson for the UNHCR. From Nairobi, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the Somali refugees.
“Yesterday, Monday, more than 1,300 desperate refugees came in through Laboi and are being processed to be taken to the Dadaab refugee camp. So far, we are managing to cope because we’ve been receiving around an average of about a thousand almost everyday, which is a big number. We have picked-up our presence in the Dadaab refugee camp (80 km from Laboi)…so as we speak now with other agencies like CARE…we are managing to cope. But our concern is if the numbers continue to rise then we are going to have problems coping with this big influx,” he says.
The three refugee camps located at the Dadaab complex are being expanded to handle more refugees. This includes increasing water and sanitation systems. Nyabera says, “If the numbers become bigger and bigger then the three exist camps will not be able to accommodate the big numbers.” The Dadaab camps are now home to 157,000 people.
UN officials have met with Somali elders who say thousands more refugees may be headed for the border.