UNHCR moves over 3,000 Somali refugees into Ifo Extension site in Kenya

Press Releases, 29 July 2011

Friday 29 July 2011

GENEVA The UN refugee agency has moved more than 3,000 Somali refugees from the outskirts of Kenya's Dadaab refugee complex into the Ifo Extension site in an ongoing relocation movement that started on Monday, 25 July.

The refugees had arrived in recent weeks and months after fleeing drought and conflict in Somalia. They settled spontaneously on the edge of Ifo camp, one of three existing camps in the Dadaab complex. On Monday, UNHCR started moving them to the new Ifo Extension site, which will provide tented accommodation to 90,000 refugees by the end of November. Latrines and water reservoirs have been constructed and are already in use by the 734 families (3,207 people) that have moved to this site.

The sites, previously known as Ifo 2 and Ifo 3, have been consolidated to form the new Ifo Extension. Infrastructure near completion includes a health clinic, three schools and four boreholes that will service the whole site. Over 100 houses that are almost ready will be given to extremely vulnerable refugee families.

Oxfam has installed three water storage tanks with a capacity of 10,000 litres each in Ifo Extension. MSF-Spain is providing primary health care services from its health post located on the outskirts of Ifo camp. It is also planning to construct three additional health posts inside Ifo Extension.

Work has also started in another site, near the Hagadera camp, known as Kambioos, where the land is being cleared. Plots are being demarcated and tents will be erected to accommodate 90,000 people. By the end of November, 180,000 people will have been moved to both the Ifo Extension and Kambioos sites.

While UNHCR's airlifts have brought thousands of tents to Dadaab, they are not enough to meet the needs of the growing refugee population. Some 45,000 tents are needed to provide emergency accommodation. Since the beginning of the year, some 114,000 Somalis have arrived in Dadaab, including about 30,000 awaiting registration on the outskirts of the refugee camps.

In Ethiopia, more than 75,000 Somalis have arrived in the Dollo Ado camps after fleeing their homeland this year to escape the mix of conflict, drought and recent famine. The influx continues at the rate of 240 a day in Dollo Ado and 1,300 daily in Dadaab.

Learn more about the crisis in Somalia and how to contribute by visiting the UNHCR Horn of Africa emergency site. For the latest updates follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Geneva: Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba on mobile: +41 79 249 3483

  • In Geneva: Vivian Tan on mobile +41 79 881 91 74

  • In Nairobi UNHCR regional office: Ron Redmond on mobile +254 734 564 019

  • In Nairobi UNHCR regional office: Needa Jehu-Hoyah on mobile +254 734 564 018

  • In Nairobi UNHCR Kenya office: Emmanuel Nyabera on mobile: +254 773 995 975

  • In Dadaab camp, Kenya: William Spindler on mobile +254 71 545 5992

  • In Kenya, UNHCR Somalia Office: Andy Needham on mobile +254 733 120 931

  • In Ethiopia: Milicent Mutuli on mobile +251 911 207 906

  • In Ethiopia: Kisut Gebre Egziabher on mobile +251 911 208 901

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UNHCR country pages

Crossing the Gulf of Aden

Every year thousands of people in the Horn of Africa - mainly Somalis and Ethiopians - leave their homes out of fear or pure despair, in search of safety or a better life. They make their way over dangerous Somali roads to Bossaso in the northern semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

In this lawless area, smuggler networks have free reign and innocent and desperate civilians pay up to US$150 to make the perilous trip across the Gulf of Aden.

Some stay weeks on end in safe houses or temporary homes in Bossaso before they can depart. A sudden call and a departure in the middle of the night, crammed in small unstable boats. At sea, anything can happen to them - they are at the whim of smugglers. Some people get beaten, stabbed, killed and thrown overboard. Others drown before arriving on the beaches of Yemen, which have become the burial ground for hundreds who many of those who died en route.

Crossing the Gulf of Aden

Somalia/Ethiopia

In February 2005, one of the last groups of Somalilander refugees to leave Aisha refugee camp in eastern Ethiopia boarded a UNHCR convoy and headed home to Harrirad in North-west Somalia - the self-declared independent state of Somaliland. Two years ago Harrirad was a tiny, sleepy village with only 67 buildings, but today more than 1,000 people live there, nearly all of whom are former refugees rebuilding their lives.

As the refugees flow back into Somalia, UNHCR plans to close Aisha camp by the middle of the year. The few remaining refugees in Aisha - who come from southern Somalia - will most likely be moved to the last eastern camp, Kebribeyah, already home to more than 10,000 refugees who cannot go home to Mogadishu and other areas in southern Somalia because of continuing lawlessness there. So far refugees have been returning to only two areas of the country - Somaliland and Puntland in the north-east.

Somalia/Ethiopia

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

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