• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

UNHCR launches US$92 million appeal to assist Somali refugees in Kenya

News Stories, 19 December 2008

© UNHCR/H.Caux
Recently arrived refugees in Dadaab, where conditions have become cramped. UNHCR plans to build two new camps to ease the congestion.

GENEVA, December 19 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Friday launched an appeal for US$92 million to ease the plight of nearly 250,000 Somalis in one of the world's oldest, largest and most congested refugee sites amid growing fears of even more arrivals as the situation in Somalia deteriorates.

The emergency assistance to Somali refugees in Dadaab, Kenya, focuses on relieving dramatic overcrowding in three adjacent camps that are now three times their initial capacity, with thousands more people continuing to arrive each month. The 17-year-old Dadaab camp complex is located in remote north-eastern Kenya, near the Somali border.

With the continuing conflict in their homeland showing no sign of abating, more than 60,000 Somalis have crossed into Kenya so far in 2008. Most come from Mogadishu and the Lower Juba regions of Kismayo, Jamame and Afmadow. The long-running crisis is further compounded by severe drought conditions, food insecurity and periodic heavy flooding in the Horn of Africa.

High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres spent two days in Dadaab in June, when he pledged to camp residents that UNHCR would develop a comprehensive plan to address the twin problems of congestion in the camp and the legitimate socio-economic concerns of the host community.

"We must take action now to improve the general living conditions among a refugee population which has already suffered far too much," Guterres said on Friday. "We also need to be prepared for the possibility of continued instability in Somalia and the outflows associated with that."

The programme will include the construction of two new camps to ease the congestion in the three existing Dadaab sites as well as meet the needs of new arrivals from Somalia. UNHCR and the government of Kenya are actively searching for additional land to construct the new camps, which would each shelter up to 60,000 people.

The US$92 million will also be used to improve the present poor living conditions of the refugees in the overcrowded camps. The camps are also in need of new, improved sanitation systems and better refugee housing. Many residents still live in flimsy huts.

Additional funds are also needed for protection and legal assistance; complementary and supplementary feeding; and provision of basic household supplies. Other activities include ensuring access to basic services through community-based projects for the Kenyan host community, which has been extremely generous over the years.

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

The Global Appeal and Supplementary Appeals

Alerting donors, organizations and individuals to the plight of millions of uprooted people.

The Global Report and Funding Reports

A comprehensive view of the refugee agency's challenges and achievements worldwide.

Donors

Governments, organisations and individuals who fund UNHCR's activities.

Flood Airdrop in Kenya

Over the weekend, UNHCR with the help of the US military began an emergency airdrop of some 200 tonnes of relief supplies for thousands of refugees badly hit by massive flooding in the Dadaab refugee camps in northern Kenya.

In a spectacular sight, 16 tonnes of plastic sheeting, mosquito nets, tents and blankets, were dropped on each run from the C-130 transport plane onto a site cleared of animals and people. Refugees loaded the supplies on trucks to take to the camps.

Dadaab, a three-camp complex hosting some 160,000 refugees, mainly from Somalia, has been cut off from the world for a month by heavy rains that washed away the road connecting the remote camps to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Air transport is the only way to get supplies into the camps.

UNHCR has moved 7,000 refugees from Ifo camp, worst affected by the flooding, to Hagadera camp, some 20 km away. A further 7,000 refugees have been moved to higher ground at a new site, called Ifo 2.

Posted in December 2006

Flood Airdrop in Kenya

New Arrivals in Yemen

During one six-day period at the end of March, more than 1,100 Somalis and Ethiopians arrived on the shores of Yemen after crossing the Gulf of Aden on smuggler's boats from Bosaso, Somalia. At least 28 people died during these recent voyages – from asphyxiation, beating or drowning – and many were badly injured by the smugglers. Others suffered skin problems as a result of prolonged contact with sea water, human waste, diesel oil and other chemicals.

During a recent visit to Yemen, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Erika Feller pledged to further raise the profile of the situation, to appeal for additional funding and international action to help Yemen, and to develop projects that will improve the living conditions and self sufficiency of the refugees in Yemen.

Since January 2006, Yemen has received nearly 30,000 people from Somalia, Ethiopia and other places, while more than 500 people have died during the sea crossing and at least 300 remain missing. UNHCR provides assistance, care and housing to more than 100,000 refugees already in Yemen.

New Arrivals in Yemen

The Gulf of Aden: Sharp Rise in Crossings and Deaths

The number of people arriving on the coast of Yemen after being smuggled across the treacherous Gulf of Aden from the Horn of Africa has more than doubled this year. So far this year, more than 18,000 people have arrived in Yemen across the Gulf of Aden, and nearly 400 have died attempting the journey.

This surge in arrivals is largely due to the continuing conflict in Somalia and the use of new smuggling routes from Somalia to Yemen and across the Red Sea from Djibouti. Many of the new arrivals also tell of crop losses due to drought, which forced them to leave home. This photo set focuses on those people leaving from Djibouti.

UNHCR has been calling for increased action to save lives in the Gulf of Aden and other waters. We have stepped up our work in Yemen under a US$17 million operation that includes extra staff, provision of additional shelter and assistance, and protection for refugees and internally displaced people.

Posted on 20 May 2008

The Gulf of Aden: Sharp Rise in Crossings and Deaths

Kenya: A Lifetime of WaitingPlay video

Kenya: A Lifetime of Waiting

Sarah was born and raised in Hagadera refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. Now 21, she has become a wife and mother without ever setting foot outside the camp.
UN Appeals for Syria OperationsPlay video

UN Appeals for Syria Operations

Faced with the prospect of a worsening situation inside Syria and growing numbers of refugees in 2014, UN agencies on Monday December 16, 2013 appealed to donors for US$6.5 billion in funds – the biggest amount so far requested for a single humanitarian emergency.
Somalia: UN High Commissioner For Refugees In MogadishuPlay video

Somalia: UN High Commissioner For Refugees In Mogadishu

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres visits Mogadishu, expresses solidarity with Somali people on eve of Ramadan.