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August 12, 11

NEWS / Shelter needs grow as more Somali refugees stream into Kenya, says UN agency

12 August 2011 –
The United Nations refugee agency said today it urgently needs 45,000 more tents as more Somalis continue to arrive in Kenya after fleeing drought, famine and conflict in their homeland.

More than 70,000 Somali refugees have arrived at the three camps that make up Kenya’s Dadaab refugee complex during June and July, bringing the overall population there to 440,000, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“As well as needing food and water, these new arrivals urgently need proper shelter, medical help and other basic services,” UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a news conference in Geneva.

The agency has moved thousands of tents to Dadaab since the current crisis began but they are still not sufficient for the growing refugee population.

Some 3.7 million people, nearly half the Somali population, are now directly at risk of famine and tens of thousands have already perished. An estimated 12.4 million people in the drought-hit Horn of Africa – Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia – are facing severe food shortages and are in need of international assistance.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos arrives in Kenya today to meet with humanitarian agencies that are responding to the crisis. During her three-day visit, she is also scheduled to visit Dadaab to see for herself the impact of the famine and meet Somalis who have survived the long journey to Kenya.

UNHCR also said that the second of three planned humanitarian flights landed at Mogadishu airport on Thursday, bringing a 32-ton consignment of shelter and other aid items.

The agency has been shipping relief supplies to Mogadishu by sea and land, but due to the large number of people seeking help in the city after fleeing their famine-hit villages in the south, it decided to airlift supplies to save time.

Meanwhile, immunizations for 18,000 refugee children in the Kobe camp in the Dollo Ado area of south-eastern Ethiopia began yesterday in response to the recent outbreak of suspected measles. The campaign is expected to end on Sunday and will be extended to the other three refugee camps in the area, said UNHCR.

The agency added that the daily arrival rate into the Dollo Ado area has reduced significantly to some 200 to 300 refugees per day. In addition to the nearly 120,000 Somali refugees hosted in the four camps as well as in the transit centre, there are more than 40,000 Somali refugees in camps in the Jijiga area in eastern Ethiopia.




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