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UNHCR welcomes camp extension at Dadaab, Kenya


UNHCR welcomes camp extension at Dadaab, Kenya

Kenya's decision to open the Ifo II extension will help to decongest camps now struggling to host 380,000 refugees – over four times their capacity.
15 July 2011
UNHCR chief António Guterres during a recent visit to Ifo II camp extension at Dadaab, Kenya.

GENEVA, July 15 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency has welcomed Kenya's decision to open a new camp extension for Somali refugees fleeing conflict and drought back home. This extension will help to ease pressure on existing camps struggling to absorb tens of thousands of new arrivals.

On Thursday, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga announced the imminent opening of the Ifo II extension at the Dadaab refugee complex in eastern Kenya near the Somalia border. UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has sent separate letters to the Kenya's president and prime minister to applaud the decision and promised full support from UNHCR.

Violence and drought in Somalia, especially in the south-central areas, have driven nearly 60,000 people into neighbouring Kenya's Dadaab region so far this year. Dadaab is still receiving some 1,300 new arrivals every day. Built in 1991, the sprawling complex consists of three camps - Dagahaley, Hagadera and Ifo - with a capacity for 90,000 people. With the recent influx, the Somali refugee population in and around Dadaab now stands at 380,000, more than four times the number of people it was designed for.

"Today it is the largest, most congested and one of the most remote refugee camps in the world. Up to five families are sharing plots designed for one family," said UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards in Geneva on Friday. "We believe the opening of the [Ifo II] extension is important for easing congestion at Dadaab."

We believe the opening of the [Ifo II] extension is important for easing congestion at Dadaab.

Adrian Edwards
UNHCR spokesman

While the new arrivals have been receiving emergency treatment and aid, UNHCR is starting airlifts of additional relief items this weekend to replenish reduced or depleted stocks in Kenya.

"The UNHCR airlift, starting with a Boeing 747 flight carrying 100 tonnes of tents from our stockpiles in Kuwait, is expected to deliver its first load to Nairobi on Sunday," said Edwards. "It will be followed by at least six subsequent flights over the next two weeks from UNHCR's stocks in Islamabad, Pakistan, carrying an additional 600 tonnes of tents in total."

UNHCR is seeking US$136.3 million to meet life-saving needs in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya until the end of this year.