Posts tagged kenya

Photo by Wairimu Gitau/MSF
A mother and her four children walked hundreds of miles from Juba, South Sudan, to the Nadapal border with Kenya where they became refugees from the fighting in their home country. In Nadapal, an MSF emergency team referred them to a hospital where they were tested for measles. Read more about the conflict in South Sudan: http://bit.ly/1aohxdM

Photo by Wairimu Gitau/MSF

A mother and her four children walked hundreds of miles from Juba, South Sudan, to the Nadapal border with Kenya where they became refugees from the fighting in their home country. In Nadapal, an MSF emergency team referred them to a hospital where they were tested for measles. Read more about the conflict in South Sudan: http://bit.ly/1aohxdM

We are thrilled and relieved to announce that our colleagues abducted from Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya 644 days ago have been released. http://bit.ly/112bbcM

We are thrilled and relieved to announce that our colleagues abducted from Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya 644 days ago have been released. http://bit.ly/112bbcM

Kenya: Escaping death in Africa’s largest urban slum
"When I came to Kibera for the first time I felt humbled by what I saw. It was hard for me to imagine that it was possible to live in such conditions: in Kibera, an estimated 250,000 people live on a five-square-kilometre patch of land. They live in very small houses made of mud or iron sheeting. 
MSF Clinical officer, Kelly Khabala, recounts his work treating people in Kibera, Africa’s largest urban slum in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
Dust and smoke, stench, sewage, waste, and water shortages are common and leave their mark on people’s everyday lives. There are not enough latrines, and if you want to use a toilet, you have to pay five shillings. Some families cannot afford this, and as a result use plastic bags, which in turn are thrown along the narrow paths of the slum.

Kenya: Escaping death in Africa’s largest urban slum

"When I came to Kibera for the first time I felt humbled by what I saw. It was hard for me to imagine that it was possible to live in such conditions: in Kibera, an estimated 250,000 people live on a five-square-kilometre patch of land. They live in very small houses made of mud or iron sheeting. 

MSF Clinical officer, Kelly Khabala, recounts his work treating people in Kibera, Africa’s largest urban slum in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

Dust and smoke, stench, sewage, waste, and water shortages are common and leave their mark on people’s everyday lives. There are not enough latrines, and if you want to use a toilet, you have to pay five shillings. Some families cannot afford this, and as a result use plastic bags, which in turn are thrown along the narrow paths of the slum.

Photo: Family members huddle in a makeshift shelter on the outskirts of the overcrowded Dadaab refugee camps. Kenya © Robin Hammond/Panos Pictures
Kenya: Possible Influx Of New Refugees Will Worsen Already Dire Conditions In Camps
Relocating thousands of Somali refugees in Kenya to overflowing and crisis-ridden camps will threaten their own health and exacerbate already disastrous humanitarian conditions, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today.
Kenyan authorities recently publicly exhorted thousands of Somali refugees living in urban areas of Kenya to uproot and move to refugee camps in Dadaab, a sprawling complex in a vast desert landscape in eastern Kenya. The camps, which together comprise the largest refugee settlement in the world, are already home to close to half a million people, well beyond their original capacity of 90,000. Squalid living conditions and insufficient assistance have been compounded by increasing insecurity in the camps over the last year.
“The assistance provided in Dadaab is already completely overstretched and cannot meet existing needs,” said Dr. Elena Velilla, MSF’s head of mission in Kenya. “In the event of an influx of new arrivals, MSF would not be able to increase its assistance or respond to a new emergency due to ongoing insecurity.”
The possible arrival of thousands of additional refugees will further deteriorate the precarious conditions, already worsened by seasonal rains and an attendant increased risk of epidemics. There are already sporadic cases of cholera and hepatitis E reported throughout the camps.
MSF, one of the main health providers in Dadaab, is operating a 200-bed hospital serving as a referral facility for the camps, but it has struggled to cope with the considerable and growing medical and humanitarian needs.
“Since the beginning of December, heavy rains have flooded the camps, and the already fragile shelter and sanitation conditions have become even more deplorable, with dramatic consequences for the population’s health,” said Velilla.
Over the last month, the number of children admitted to the MSF hospital for severe acute malnutrition has doubled, with approximately 300 children hospitalized. Most of them are also suffering from acute watery diarrhoea or severe respiratory tract infections, attributable to the poor living conditions in the camps.
Since the camps were established more than 20 years ago, emergencies have plagued Dadaab, with floods, nutritional crises, and disease outbreaks occurring regularly. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which administers the camp complex, 11 epidemic outbreaks were reported in 2012.

Photo: Family members huddle in a makeshift shelter on the outskirts of the overcrowded Dadaab refugee camps. Kenya © Robin Hammond/Panos Pictures

Kenya: Possible Influx Of New Refugees Will Worsen Already Dire Conditions In Camps

Relocating thousands of Somali refugees in Kenya to overflowing and crisis-ridden camps will threaten their own health and exacerbate already disastrous humanitarian conditions, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today.

Kenyan authorities recently publicly exhorted thousands of Somali refugees living in urban areas of Kenya to uproot and move to refugee camps in Dadaab, a sprawling complex in a vast desert landscape in eastern Kenya. The camps, which together comprise the largest refugee settlement in the world, are already home to close to half a million people, well beyond their original capacity of 90,000. Squalid living conditions and insufficient assistance have been compounded by increasing insecurity in the camps over the last year.

“The assistance provided in Dadaab is already completely overstretched and cannot meet existing needs,” said Dr. Elena Velilla, MSF’s head of mission in Kenya. “In the event of an influx of new arrivals, MSF would not be able to increase its assistance or respond to a new emergency due to ongoing insecurity.”

The possible arrival of thousands of additional refugees will further deteriorate the precarious conditions, already worsened by seasonal rains and an attendant increased risk of epidemics. There are already sporadic cases of cholera and hepatitis E reported throughout the camps.

MSF, one of the main health providers in Dadaab, is operating a 200-bed hospital serving as a referral facility for the camps, but it has struggled to cope with the considerable and growing medical and humanitarian needs.

“Since the beginning of December, heavy rains have flooded the camps, and the already fragile shelter and sanitation conditions have become even more deplorable, with dramatic consequences for the population’s health,” said Velilla.

Over the last month, the number of children admitted to the MSF hospital for severe acute malnutrition has doubled, with approximately 300 children hospitalized. Most of them are also suffering from acute watery diarrhoea or severe respiratory tract infections, attributable to the poor living conditions in the camps.

Since the camps were established more than 20 years ago, emergencies have plagued Dadaab, with floods, nutritional crises, and disease outbreaks occurring regularly. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which administers the camp complex, 11 epidemic outbreaks were reported in 2012.

UMOJA: A village where no men are allowed
These Kenyan women have faced violence and oppression in their community for many years. They say violence and male dominance are part of their culture—a part that they do not like. Following a fierce leader, Rebecca, the women of Umoja started their own village. A village where no men are allowed. A village that is safe for women to live well, eat healthy, and support each other. Watch this moving documentary to see how the Umoja women created a safe space, and sustained living. 

UMOJA: A village where no men are allowed

These Kenyan women have faced violence and oppression in their community for many years. They say violence and male dominance are part of their culture—a part that they do not like. Following a fierce leader, Rebecca, the women of Umoja started their own village. A village where no men are allowed. A village that is safe for women to live well, eat healthy, and support each other. Watch this moving documentary to see how the Umoja women created a safe space, and sustained living. 

Celebrating the cultures of the countries that we provide humanitarian aid in, here are some photo finalists from our international MSF.TV Cultural Photography Competition

MSF.TV | Watch how Grannies fight back in a Kenyan Slum

At this Kenyan slum, grannies are raped and beaten by boys young enough to be their grandchildren. The “kung fu grannies” gather at community meetings to teach themselves self defense, and bravely fight back offenders—“Before there was a lot of fear. But thanks to the training, we now feel free.”

MSF.TV | Watch how Grannies fight back in a Kenyan Slum

At this Kenyan slum, grannies are raped and beaten by boys young enough to be their grandchildren. The “kung fu grannies” gather at community meetings to teach themselves self defense, and bravely fight back offenders—“Before there was a lot of fear. But thanks to the training, we now feel free.”

Photo: Somali refugees in Dadaab arrive in Ifo 2 camp after being moved by officials from the outskirts of Dagahaley camp. Kenya 2011 © Lynsey Addario/VII

Dadaab: Leaders Must Not Fail Refugees in the World’s Largest Camp

In Geneva, world leaders commenced this week for the annual meeting of the executive committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Issues on refugee rights and safety were discussed, as MSF brought attention to the half a million Somalis living in extreme conditions and under fear in camps in Kenya. Urgent steps must also be taken to meet the basic needs of the refugees, particularly shelter and sanitation. 

“We are seriously questioning the overall level of assistance provided to the refugees,” said Bruno Jochum, MSF general director, who visited Dadaab’s Dagahaley camp last week. “With security conditions worsening, basic services and the provision of aid have been significantly reduced, so it is no surprise that refugees are yet again facing disease outbreaks.”

Photo: Somali refugees in Dadaab arrive in Ifo 2 camp after being moved by officials from the outskirts of Dagahaley camp. Kenya 2011 © Lynsey Addario/VII

Dadaab: Leaders Must Not Fail Refugees in the World’s Largest Camp

In Geneva, world leaders commenced this week for the annual meeting of the executive committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Issues on refugee rights and safety were discussed, as MSF brought attention to the half a million Somalis living in extreme conditions and under fear in camps in Kenya. Urgent steps must also be taken to meet the basic needs of the refugees, particularly shelter and sanitation.

“We are seriously questioning the overall level of assistance provided to the refugees,” said Bruno Jochum, MSF general director, who visited Dadaab’s Dagahaley camp last week. “With security conditions worsening, basic services and the provision of aid have been significantly reduced, so it is no surprise that refugees are yet again facing disease outbreaks.”

Dadaab Briefing Paper: Back to Square One

In the Dadaab camps of northerastern Kenya, which collectively form the largest refugee camp in the world, life is becoming more difficult every day and hundreds of thousands of refugees are facing a humanitarian emergency. Their health is at risk of deteriorating rapidly but humanitarian aid agencies are struggling to provide meaningful assistance on an ongoing basis.

The relocation of families to the newly opened camps of Ifo 2 West and Ifo 2 East continues, but work to ensure sufficient services has been slow to restart. Today, a limited number of people remain on the outskirts of the camps in so-called “self-settled areas,” where living conditions are still extremely poor. Such conditions have profound consequences for the health of these refugees, as confirmed in a detailed survey conducted by MSF’s epidemiological branch, Epicentre, in September 2011. The health situation in Dadaab is alarming, with recent outbreaks of measles, acute watery diarrhea, and cholera.

MSF continues to run its hospital and four health posts in Dadaab’s Dagahaley camp. At the height of the emergency, from October 2011 to January 2012, the 300-bed hospital in Dagahaley was operating beyond its capacity, reaching a peak of more than 350 patients in the first week of January. Today the situation has improved and medical activities have been restored in Ifo 2 [Somali refugee camp]. However, the number of severely malnourished children requiring hospitalization is still high compared to the same period last year, with nearly 100 children being admitted to the intensive therapeutic feeding center every week.

MSF is constantly adapting to the exceptionally difficult humanitarian and security challenges in the camps. Despite limited international presence in the camp due to security concerns, MSF staff are still providing high quality medical care. Photo:Kenya 2011 © Brendan Bannon -
Somali refugees settle at the edge of Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp.

Dadaab Briefing Paper: Back to Square One

In the Dadaab camps of northerastern Kenya, which collectively form the largest refugee camp in the world, life is becoming more difficult every day and hundreds of thousands of refugees are facing a humanitarian emergency. Their health is at risk of deteriorating rapidly but humanitarian aid agencies are struggling to provide meaningful assistance on an ongoing basis.

The relocation of families to the newly opened camps of Ifo 2 West and Ifo 2 East continues, but work to ensure sufficient services has been slow to restart. Today, a limited number of people remain on the outskirts of the camps in so-called “self-settled areas,” where living conditions are still extremely poor. Such conditions have profound consequences for the health of these refugees, as confirmed in a detailed survey conducted by MSF’s epidemiological branch, Epicentre, in September 2011. The health situation in Dadaab is alarming, with recent outbreaks of measles, acute watery diarrhea, and cholera.

MSF continues to run its hospital and four health posts in Dadaab’s Dagahaley camp. At the height of the emergency, from October 2011 to January 2012, the 300-bed hospital in Dagahaley was operating beyond its capacity, reaching a peak of more than 350 patients in the first week of January. Today the situation has improved and medical activities have been restored in Ifo 2 [Somali refugee camp]. However, the number of severely malnourished children requiring hospitalization is still high compared to the same period last year, with nearly 100 children being admitted to the intensive therapeutic feeding center every week.

MSF is constantly adapting to the exceptionally difficult humanitarian and security challenges in the camps. Despite limited international presence in the camp due to security concerns, MSF staff are still providing high quality medical care.

Photo:Kenya 2011 © Brendan Bannon - Somali refugees settle at the edge of Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp.

Somali Survivor Seeks to Give Back

Civil war destroyed Hussein Magale’s home in Somalia in 1992, when he was around two years old. Forced to flee, he spent the next 16 years in a Kenyan refugee camp.

“I was born in Somalia, raised up in Kenya, now I’m switching over to being an American,” he said.

“(People) live in an open prison, far away from justice and humanity,” Magale said. “They speak, but their voices are never heard.”

Doctors Without Borders eventually came to his camp. So Magale, who speaks three languages, began translating for them.“If they (doctors) were not like that, I wouldn’t have survived,” he said. “Working with them … I understood the power of a medical education.”

Now, he’s a biochemistry sophomore and an aspiring doctor. He translates for the University of Arizona Medical Center’s doctors and assists the Arizona Refugee Connection, which helps people worldwide.

He still has a lot of work ahead of him and medical school is some time away, but his goals for the future are very clear. “When I become a doctor,” he said, ”I’m planning to not only help Somalia or Somali refugees, but anyone who needs it most.”

Learn more on the work of Doctors Without Borders with Somali Refugees.

I am a Kenya[n] currently studying in Canada. When my mother was first diagnosed with HIV/Aids in 2002, we all went into denial. The stigma and discrimination was rampant and the ARV’s were too expensive for us.

Thanks to MSF, my mother is alive, beautiful, strong, how can I best describe it! Alive and Kicking. There was not only the treatment, there was the nutrition and support group services.

My mother is now a community health worker in Mathare slum. MSF runs a clinic near this slum called the Blue House clinic, and yes, you thought right, it is painted blue.

The end, in some circumstances, justifies the end.

Happy 40th anniversary MSF.

Wairimu Gitau
from Ottawa

A comment left on the WNYC Leonard Lopate Show website earlier this week from an interview with Michael Neuman. The interview was regarding the new MSF book, Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed: The MSF Experience.

Listen to the archived Leonard Lopate Show interview with Michael Neuman on the WNYC website.

This mother and child—and this part of Mogadishu—show the toll of the overlapping political, security, and public health crises in Somalia, which have put an immense burden on women and children.

Years marked by conflict, drought, and a profound lack of governance culminated in a massive humanitarian crisis in the second half of 2011, to which MSF responded by expanding its programs in Somalia and for the huge numbers of Somali refugees who sought aid in Kenya and Ethiopia.

Photo: Somalia © Lynsey Addario/VII

This mother and child—and this part of Mogadishu—show the toll of the overlapping political, security, and public health crises in Somalia, which have put an immense burden on women and children.

Years marked by conflict, drought, and a profound lack of governance culminated in a massive humanitarian crisis in the second half of 2011, to which MSF responded by expanding its programs in Somalia and for the huge numbers of Somali refugees who sought aid in Kenya and Ethiopia.

Photo: Somalia © Lynsey Addario/VII

MSF Condemns Attacks On Aid Workers And Calls For Release Of Abducted Colleagues in Somalia

One week ago, a gunman killed Phillipe Havet and Andrias Karel Keiluhuo, two Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) aid workers, while they were implementing emergency assistance projects in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. Three months ago, MSF staff members Montserrat Serra and Blanca Thiebaut were abducted in the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya while providing emergency assistance for the Somali population there.

These attacks on aid workers must be condemned in the strongest terms, MSF said today. They jeopardize life-saving medical projects that are already far from adequate in addressing the vast medical needs of the Somali population.

MSF is confronting the difficult dilemma of working in a context like Somalia, where the needs are not only extremely great, but the risks are exceptionally high for the safety and security of all staff. As we consider this dilemma, MSF is requesting that all people—especially the authorities in control of areas in Somalia where our kidnapped colleagues are being detained—do everything possible to facilitate the safe release of Blanca and Montserrat.

Five kilometres southwest of downtown Nairobi in Kenya, the sprawling Kibera slum is a sea of mud and corrugated iron shacks with small, narrow rooms that house entire families.

More than 60 percent of diseases among Kibera patients are linked to hygiene and sanitation conditions. People most commonly come to MSF clinics in Kibera for pneumonia, respiratory diseases, diarrhoeal diseases, skin diseases and worms. These are all diseases with clear connections to poor hygiene, poor sanitation and overcrowded living conditions where diseases are easily transmitted. There are far too few toilets, the homes are small and congested, clean water is scarce, and access to free or affordable quality healthcare is critically limited.

Urban Survivors is a multimedia project by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in collaboration with the NOOR photo agency and Darjeeling Productions, highlighting the critical humanitarian and medical needs that exist in slums the world over. 

Photo: Nairobi, Kenya © Francesco Zizola/NOOR

Five kilometres southwest of downtown Nairobi in Kenya, the sprawling Kibera slum is a sea of mud and corrugated iron shacks with small, narrow rooms that house entire families.

More than 60 percent of diseases among Kibera patients are linked to hygiene and sanitation conditions. People most commonly come to MSF clinics in Kibera for pneumonia, respiratory diseases, diarrhoeal diseases, skin diseases and worms. These are all diseases with clear connections to poor hygiene, poor sanitation and overcrowded living conditions where diseases are easily transmitted. There are far too few toilets, the homes are small and congested, clean water is scarce, and access to free or affordable quality healthcare is critically limited.

Urban Survivors is a multimedia project by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in collaboration with the NOOR photo agency and Darjeeling Productions, highlighting the critical humanitarian and medical needs that exist in slums the world over.

Photo: Nairobi, Kenya © Francesco Zizola/NOOR

Five kilometres southwest of downtown Nairobi, the sprawling Kibera slum is a sea of mud and corrugated iron shacks with small, narrow rooms that house entire families.

Kibera is severely overcrowded and suffers from a grave and dangerous lack of sanitation. Most houses do not have toilets, so people must seek out public ones during the day. At night, however, these are unsafe or unreachable, forcing people to defecate in bags that they then throw outside. The high population density, the deplorable hygiene, and lack of clean water and sanitation significantly increase the risk of diseases spreading in the slum.

The people of Kibera have very limited access to free or affordable health care. The government has historically considered it an “informal settlement,” which renders slum residents “invisible” to the authorities and the rest of the society. As a result, there has been no government-sponsored development inside the slum- no provision of public water, sanitation, education, infrastructure or health care.

Urban Survivors is a multimedia project by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in collaboration with the NOOR photo agency and Darjeeling Productions, highlighting the critical humanitarian and medical needs that exist in slums the world over. 

Photo: © Francesco Zizola/Noor

Five kilometres southwest of downtown Nairobi, the sprawling Kibera slum is a sea of mud and corrugated iron shacks with small, narrow rooms that house entire families.

Kibera is severely overcrowded and suffers from a grave and dangerous lack of sanitation. Most houses do not have toilets, so people must seek out public ones during the day. At night, however, these are unsafe or unreachable, forcing people to defecate in bags that they then throw outside. The high population density, the deplorable hygiene, and lack of clean water and sanitation significantly increase the risk of diseases spreading in the slum.

The people of Kibera have very limited access to free or affordable health care. The government has historically considered it an “informal settlement,” which renders slum residents “invisible” to the authorities and the rest of the society. As a result, there has been no government-sponsored development inside the slum- no provision of public water, sanitation, education, infrastructure or health care.

Urban Survivors is a multimedia project by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in collaboration with the NOOR photo agency and Darjeeling Productions, highlighting the critical humanitarian and medical needs that exist in slums the world over.

Photo: © Francesco Zizola/Noor