Somalis in Kenya: From One Desert to Another

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is deeply concerned by the relocation of Somali refugees in Dadaab, in northeastern Kenya, to the Ifo 3 extension camp. The relocation, which began yesterday under the auspices of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), has been carried out with little transparency or consultation with other agencies on the ground and the refugee community itself.

Each day, some 200 families are being relocated to Ifo 3, a camp with few basic services, including water and sanitation. It is expected that the camp will hold a total of 60,000 refugees, which is 20,000 more people than it was originally designed for. NGOs were alerted only last Friday of the relocation exercise, and although water is currently being trucked to the new camp and latrines are rapidly being dug, the camp does not at present meet the minimum humanitarian standards.

Furthermore, this camp has no hospital structure, which will force MSF to refer patients in need of hospitalization or inpatient therapeutic feeding to either the Dagahaley camp or Ifo camp hospitals, both of which are already operating beyond full capacity because of widespread malnutrition and other medical issues among the rapidly swelling refugee population.

Meanwhile, just a few kilometers away lies Ifo 2, a camp that was due to open last November and is already equipped with boreholes, latrines and showers, electricity, some shelter, and schools.

MSF calls on the Government of Kenya and the UNHCR to ensure the immediate relocation of refugees to Ifo 2 as announced by the government 12 days ago. Full press release.