The Worst Humanitarian Crisis in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp

More on Dadaab from Manie Wollel, also a sponsored student with WUSC Regina

It is heart breaking news to hear and to see the suffering and the death of our fellow refugees across the globe. At the moment one of the worst humanitarian crises is taking place in Dadaab refugee camp of Kenya which is one of the largest refugee camps in the world. For a short period of time, I was one of the former refugees in Dadaab. The camp mainly consists of a number of refugees across East Africa, but the Somalia refugees are the most dominant and outnumber the rest.

However, the camp is currently beyond its capacity to accommodate more refugees. Originally it was set up for 90,000, but currently it is over 350,000 refugees in the camp. Continue violence from civil war, maladministration, and drought are some of the major causes for the persistent flow for the Somali and the rest of refugees across East Africa, particularly in the Dadaad refugee camp.

Particularly for the Somali refugees persistent violence is one of the most common factors for their flow since a civil war erupted in Somalia two decades ago. Since then, Somalia has been controlled by war lords, UN supported dysfunctional transitional government, and Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-inspired al-Shebab extremists. This in turn has led Somalia as one of the failed states in the world without proper government for the last two decades. In addition to these, “East Africa is currently suffering from the worst drought in 60 years which risked about 10 million people who are in need of food aid. Somalia has been one of the worst affected countries in the drought-hit Horn of Africa region.”

The overall factors lead continues and dramatic flow of Somali refugees across East Africa. Based on the current UN refugee agency report, “about 1,700 Somalis are arriving daily in southeast Ethiopia, while in neighbouring Kenya about 1,400 each day reach the overcrowded Dadaab refugee camp, according to the UN refugee agency”.

For these reasons, currently the Somali refugees particularly mothers, elders, and children are dying from hunger and disease on their way. Moreover, the Dadaab refugee camp of Kenya is overcrowding and beyond its capacity to provide service. “Initially Dadaab refugee camp was setup to host some 90,000 refugee, but currently the number of refugees is over 350,000 with thousands more expected in the coming weeks. For this reason, the UN refugee agency chief Antonion Guterres called the plight of Somali refugees “the worst humanitarian tragedy” in the world today”.

In general, temporary food and financial aid would be one of the noble ideas to save the precious human life in Dadaab and the rest of refugee camps around the world, but as a durable solution resolving the existing problem by using different mechanisms, providing resettlement or sponsoring refugee students through WUSC or other humanitarian organization would bring a huge difference.

References // More Details in the Global News:
In Pictures: Somali refugees arrive in Dadaab
UNHCR chief urges more help for drought-hit Somalis
Inside worlds biggest refugee camp
African drought causing food shortages


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