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UNHCR chief in Kenya to assess situation for refugees, energy project

Briefing notes

UNHCR chief in Kenya to assess situation for refugees, energy project

7 September 2010

High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, has today begun a three-day mission to Kenya to review a green-energy initiative at the Kakuma refugee camp in the country's northwest, as well as to assess progress on the expansion of the overcrowded Dadaab refugee camps, near the Somali border.

In Kakuma, the High Commissioner will be looking at a pilot project that aims to deliver electricity to camp residents, schools, hospitals and other community services, while at the same time introducing solar and wind-powered energy. This project, announced last year at the Clinton Global Initiative by UNHCR and the Portuguese energy company EDP, is the first of its kind in any refugee camp in the world. If successful, UNHCR will consider replicating the model throughout Africa and beyond for the benefit of hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced persons.

On Wednesday, the High Commissioner will be in Dadaab to evaluate progress on the extension of the Ifo section of the camp. The first phase of the expansion will allow the transfer of 40,000 refugees from the most congested areas of the camps. Dadaab was originally established to host 90,000 refugees but the camp is now home to nearly 300,000 mostly Somali refugees. More continue to arrive each month as they flee violence in south and central Somalia.