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

Kenya to set aside land to establish a new refugee camp for Somalis

News Stories, 6 February 2009

© UNHCR/E.Hockstein
Makeshift shelters and new tents at Ifo Camp in Dadaab late last year. The camp has almost reached saturation level.

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 6 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency said Friday that the Kenyan government has agreed to allocate land to accommodate the increasing numbers of Somali refugees who are fleeing to north-eastern Kenya to escape the escalating conflict in their country.

The commitment came during a three-day visit to Kenya by Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees Craig Johnstone, who arrived back in Geneva on Friday. In a meeting earlier this week with Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Johnstone received a firm commitment that the government would provide land for establishment of a new refugee camp in north-eastern Kenya to take the pressure off the sprawling and overcrowded Dadaab refugee complex.

Dadaab, which was designed for 90,000 people, now has a population of about a quarter of a million, making it one of the world's largest and most congested refugee sites. Johnstone warned that the camp was now at breaking point.

UNHCR and local Kenyan authorities have identified and surveyed 2,000 hectares of land in Fafi, in Garissa District, south of Dadaab. The agency estimates the site could host 50,000 people. Johnstone pledged that the new camp will be an environmental model, which will carefully balance the demands of the refugees and the locals.

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

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

Thailand: Angelina Jolie visits refugees from Myanmar Play video

Thailand: Angelina Jolie visits refugees from Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie marked World Refugee Day with her fourth visit to the refugee camps in northern Thailand. At Ban Mai Nai Soi camp she met 75-year-old Baw Meh, a Karenni refugee who shared her family's heartbreaking story of 18 years in exile.
Portugal: Sahrawi Cultural GatheringPlay video

Portugal: Sahrawi Cultural Gathering

People from Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria and from Western Sahara Territory meet for a cultural seminar in the Azores Islands as part of a confidence building measures programme.
Syrian Refugees: An Urban Refugee in Turkey Play video

Syrian Refugees: An Urban Refugee in Turkey

There are more than 650,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey. Some 200,000 are housed in refugee camps along the border, but more than 460,000 live more precarious lives as urban refugees. One of them, Abdul Rahman, lives in the southern city of Urfa. It's been tough but the young man keeps his dreams alive.