Help for 25,000 Somalis in New Kenya Refugee Camp

22 Aug 2011   |   Blog   |   Kenya   |   Emergency Relief

Tags:  East Africa Crisis Appeal, famine, Kenya, UNHCR, Emergency   |   No comments

As the food crisis across East Africa intensifies, the Caritas network has made a five-year commitment to help thousands of Somali refugees in the soon-to-be opened Kambioos extension to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.

The international Caritas network is committed to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide 25,000 people with critical services such as water and sanitation infrastructure in the new Kambioos camp. Support will also be provided to the surrounding communities affected by the influx of refugees.

Originally built to accommodate 90,000 people 20 years ago, the number of refugees now residing at the Dadaab camps has surged to 400,000, with as many as 1,500 people arriving daily. Recent droughts across the Horn of Africa and the insecurity in south central Somalia have drastically increased the number of Somali refugees fleeing to the Dadaab camps. The UNHCR estimates that an additional 160,000 Somali refugees will arrive at the Dadaab camp in the next 5-6 months.

“The vast majority of refugees are suffering from malnutrition, poor sanitation facilities, and live in crowded conditions with a lack of appropriate shelter,” said PM Jose, the Kenya country representative for CRS (Caritas USA).

“Getting life-saving assistance to the new arrivals is critical, but as we help refugees, we must not forget the impact that these arrivals will have on the host communities surrounding the camps.”

Currently, existing facilities in the Dadaab camps are severely over-burdened due to overcrowding and a serious public health risk is now of critical concern. With reports of measles and cholera outbreaks already occurring, access to safe water and hygiene facilities is vital in preventing the spread of disease.

As part of the five-year commitment, the Caritas network will employ residents from surrounding communities to construct latrines, hand washing stations and showers to accommodate 25,000 people. Caritas will also train solid waste managers, latrine attendants, community mobilisers and water and sanitation service providers. In total, 1250 latrines and 625 showers will be built and a solid waste removal system will be implemented by local residents with the support of Caritas. This will help ease the burden on existing facilities in Dadaab and will inject much needed money into the local economy.

In addition to providing services at the new camp, the Caritas network will continue its decades-long commitment to Kenya and Ethiopia through programs that address agricultural and water needs. Reports from the field indicate that such projects have helped ease the hardship of drought in many communities across Africa.

Many thanks to CRS (Caritas USA) for sharing this story.

For more information on Caritas' response to the East Africa Drought Crisis and how you can help, please visit our dedicated East Africa Crisis webpage >>

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