Heavy Floods Hit Dadaab Refugee Camp

In the long term, UNHCR intends to construct dykes across flooding areas to prevent water from reaching the camps.

Nearly 63000 people have been affected by the ongoing floods in Dadaab Refugee camp.

Hussein, 26 years old, and his family are among those who were affected. Hussein is a headmaster at Gateway Secondary School, he has been living in Dadaab for 25 years and says this is not the first time he and his family have been affected by the flooding.

In 2006 we were affected again and UNHCR offered assistance. “This time the floods have completely damaged our shelter, swept away our food and dismantled toilets,” says Hussein. “Children have been cut off from school as some school facilities were turned into temporary shelters. My school hosted 16 families,” he added

The three most affected camps in Dadaab Dagahaley, Ifo and Ifo 2 have a total of 36,335 families of which 11,684 have been affected by the floods.

Some families were evacuated to higher ground considered safe.

Many of the roads have been blocked making aid operations very difficult. UNHCR staff have also been affected by the floods, with aid vehicles being submerged in water or stuck. Three World Food Programme trucks delivering much needed food supplies were stuck on the way to Ifo and Dagahaley camps. The trucks had to be towed using excavators.

The floods could seriously affect the ongoing voluntary repatriation programme. An emergency meeting was held to come up with solutions to the challenges posed by the flooding. Flights for some refugees being repatriated were suspended due to the road networks being completely cut off. The road linking Hagadera Camp and Dadaab will be assessed regularly.

Water, sanitation and health teams met to address the effects of the flood, and discussed how to mitigate potential risks and threats the flooding might pose.

“Teams are working on life-saving interventions for our persons of concerns. The most urgent needs will be food, kitchen sets, water and sanitation, and shelter,” said UNHCR Head of Operations Dadaab, Mr. Jean Bosco Rushatsi.

The host community in Dadaab have also been affected by the floods. UNHCR and its partners are therefore supporting the host community in mitigating the effects of the floods by diverting the floods waters from inhabitated areas.

“2,922 families have been worst affected. Their most urgent needs are food, shelter materials, mosquito nets and beddings. We appeal to UNHCR and other agencies for support,” said Mr. Abdi Gedi Abdi, the Garissa County Government, Principal Liaison Officer.

UNHCR has provided 5,844 jerry cans, 5,844 bars of soap and 2,922 plastic sheets to support the host community.

UNHCR intends to construct dykes across flood prone areas to prevent water from reaching the camps. UNHCR and partners are currently appealing to donors for funds to provide shelter materials, kitchen sets, food and water and sanitation supplies.