UNHCR programme provides young Somali males with a toolkit full of skills Link
In what is being referred to as “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today,” 11 million people residing in the Horn of Africa totter on the edge of famine as two years of drought, combined with escalating global food prices combine to create “a perfect storm.”
Meanwhile, Oxfam reports that the Kenyan government is barring many of the thousands of refugees arriving daily from entering what is now the largest refugee center in the world because of security fears.
New water tanks, lavatory blocks and health care facilities stand ready at the camp as tens of thousands are being forced to find nearby shelter in what Oxfam today called “shocking conditions.”
The Dadaab refugee camp, whose three centres were designed to handle 90,000 Somalian war and weather refugees, is already overwhelmed with and now houses 380,000 residents, according to government officials.
Oxfam’s Kenyan director, Joost van de Lest, urged the country to open the camp immediately.
“It is tragic that vulnerable families are trapped in limbo, forced to endure appalling conditions while there are fully functioning services right next door,” he told the Telegraph earlier today.
“Women and children have walked for weeks through the desert, braving hunger and attacks by armed robbers and wild animals, to get to the camps in Kenya.
“They arrive extremely weak and malnourished, and the least that we can do is ensure that there is water, food and care for them when they get here.”
UNHCR’s Antonio Guterres this morning declared the situation “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today”, and Ethiopia raised recent estimates of the number of people in desperate need of water, food and medicine by 40% to 4.5 million.
“If you are a hungry person, someone once told me you feel as if bleach is in your belly it hurts so much,” says the World Food Programme’s Bettina Luescher, reporting from Mogadishu. “When people go hungry they’ve got 3 options: They can migrate, they can revolt or they can die.”
The situation in Somalia is further complicated due to the ongoing war in the region. Migrate, Revolt or Die
Somali refugees who recently arrived at the Dagahaley camp assemble a makeshift shelter, in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, in April. Some 2.6 million in Somalia need aid as a result of drought, the UN says. Photo: Thomas Mukoya. Reuters File.
Filing her first report from the Dadaab refugee camp, Alexandra Lopoukhine, Emergency Media Officer for CARE, says some of the families arriving have walked for two weeks. “The children are much smaller than they should be,” she writes. “One story I heard was devastating: a mother walking, arrives at the clinic, takes her baby off her back and finds it has died without her knowing. I can’t even imagine the pain this causes her. One man spoke to us in perfect English – he told us he has been a refugee since 1991, and now, here among the newly arrived, is his grandfather.”
• The World Food Programme: Fill the Cup: (THE WFP needs $200 million just to meet this year’s needs in the Horn of Africa.)
Current drought in Somalia. Channel 16 Stream.
2:10 PM PT: CARE Report in: Staff Blog: Horn of Africa Food Crisis – Dadaab refugee camp
lexandra Lopoukhine, Emergency Media Officer for CARE reports back on what she’s seen at the Dadaab refugee camp.
The heat is strong and the wind is blowing. The shade provides relief. People are lined-up, orderly, and patient. There is an overwhelming sense of calm. This is not exactly what I would have expected in the Dagahaley registration center, as today, 1055 people wait for food and to be brought into the UNHCR system.
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