On Tuesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that over 80,000 people have arrived so far in northeast Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camps due to ongoing insecurity and severe drought.
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The majority of the refugees arrived over the past two years. “More support is needed not only in Kenya but also in Somalia and Ethiopia, where millions of people are facing dire humanitarian conditions as the rains continue to fail,” UNHCR said.
Despite a recent decrease in the pace of daily arrivals, UNHCR and partners in Dadaab estimate that some 24,000 people have arrived since the end of September.
Local communities and refugees already living in the refugee camps in Dadaab have been generously welcoming the new arrivals and sharing the limited resources they have.
Adequate space in the camps, where the newly arrived are sheltered, is running out, forcing many to reside in makeshift shelters along the outskirts where clean water and sanitation facilities are either grossly insufficient or non-existent.
A cholera outbreak has been affecting refugee and host communities with over 350 cases having been identified since the end of October. UNHCR said more resources are urgently required to meet surging needs and to help provide life-saving assistance and protection.
In June, UNHCR requested US$11 million to assist over 257,000 drought-affected people in Kenya, including 55,000 new arrivals. So far, the UNHCR said only half of the needed funds to respond to the drought have been received, even as thousands more people have arrived than anticipated.
Some 4.5 million Kenyans, mainly in the northern and eastern parts of the country, are also battling with the effects of the devastating drought. Many families are struggling with severe food and water shortages, which may worsen in the coming months if the present rainy season fails.
In November, the UN and partners issued a call for US$472.6 million to enable aid agencies to respond now and into next year as the impact of the drought in Kenya deepens.
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