Surge in Somali Refugees Flood Kenyan Camp

In just two weeks, 20,000 have fled to Kenya’s Dadaab refugee complex.

Posted: 06/24/2011 04:50 PM EDT
Filed Under Somalia, Kenya

Days after a study revealed most of the world’s refugees are fleeing to poorer countries, comes another U.N. announcement stating that over 20,000 Somali refugees have fled to an overcrowded Kenyan camp in just the past two weeks.

 

This year, Kenya’s Dadaab refugee complex has received 10,000 Somali refugees per month, which is up from last year’s average of 6,000-8,000 per month, United Nations Refugee Agency spokesperson Melissa Fleming said Friday. The complex, first built in the early 1990s was built to only house 90,000 but now hosts over 360,000, she added, making it the world’s largest refugee settlement. The recent upsurge in refugees to the camp during the past two weeks are Somali farmers and animal herders from Juba and Dhobley.

 

Years of ongoing violence due to the nation’s unstable government has left millions of Somalis displaced within the nation and in neighboring countries, which include Kenya, Ethiopia and Yemen.Aside from the high numbers, the deplorable health of incoming refugees is another top concern.

 

“The physical condition of these people is a matter of significant concern to us. Many families have walked [to the camp] for days, and are exhausted and desperate for food and water,” she said. “UNHCR is working with the Kenyan authorities and other aid agencies to respond to the latest crisis, and to increased malnutrition among the new arrivals.”

 

The agency is addressing the situation by attempting to accommodate the refugees they don’t have space for by providing them with tents and water.

 

Also on Friday, the U.N. Security Council pushed for both sides to adhere to the 2008 Djibouti Peace Agreement as a means to bring peace and stability to Somalia. Under the agreement, the warring sides – the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia – agreed to stop fighting and form an inclusive government.

(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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