UNHCR strengthens its presence in Dadaab refugee complex

Briefing Notes, 25 May 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 25 May 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

As part of our efforts to ensure continuity of life-saving services for more than 460,000 refugees in the Dadaab refugee complex in north-eastern Kenya, we opened yesterday (Thursday, 24 May) a new office in this part of the country.

Dadaab is the largest refugee settlement in the world and spreads over an area of more than 50 square kilometres.

The new office, opened in the presence of Kenyan authorities, is called Alinjugur and is located in Fafi District, around 80 kilometers from the Somali border and some 20 kilometres from the main UNHCR compound in Dadaab. As of yesterday Alinjugur hosts staff of UNHCR and other agencies and NGOs. The teams based in Alinjugur will cover Hagadera and Kambioos sites which shelter some 150,000 Somali refugees.

The Alinjugur office will enable us to be closer to refugee communities and consequently, to provide better services for refugees and the host communities. Its opening is a result of talks and cooperation with the Kenyan authorities to decongest the camps and to increase the field presence for UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations. In addition, we are working closely with the host community to aid positive co-existence with refugees.

We are confident that the new development will enable us to expand humanitarian space and facilitate operations.

Security has been a major challenge in Dadaab in the last six month, restricting the scale of our field operations. The situation remains complex and tense as threats from improvised explosive devices, kidnappings, vehicle hijackings and banditry remain high.

Dadaab has been providing protection, shelter and humanitarian assistance to Somali refugees for two decades often under difficult and complex circumstances. Chronic overcrowding, a risk of disease, and seasonal floods are among these challenges.

For further information on this topic, please contact: