UN rushes tents to overcrowded Kenya camp

2011-07-15 15:05

Geneva - The UN refugee agency said on Friday that it would begin a massive operation to fly in tents to Kenya's overcrowded Dadaab camp, where 1 300 Somalis fleeing conflict and drought are arriving daily.

"UNHCR plans to begin a massive airlift this weekend to bring tents and other aid supplies," said Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The first flight would arrive on Sunday in Nairobi with about 100 tons of tents while at least six other planeloads are to follow over the next two weeks to bring another 600 tons of tents to the world's largest refugee camp.

Dadaab, located at the border with Somalia, was built for 90 000 people. But it is now home to nearly 440 000, including 59 000 who are living on the outskirts of the camp.

With the worst drought in 60 years hitting the Horn of Africa, the flow of Somali refugees arriving at the camp has increased over recent months, putting resources at the camp under severe strain.

On Thursday, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga pledged to open an extension at Dadaab to ease the severe overcrowding.

"We certainly can see the crisis level and it is important that the camps be opened," he said in Dadaab.

"Let the UNHCR work with the government on modalities of opening up the new camps," he added.

Edwards welcomed the announcement, saying that the UN agency's chief Antonio Guterres has written to Kenya's president and Odinga to applaud the decision as well as pledge UNHCR's full support.

Some 60 000 new arrivals have been recorded at Dadaab since the beginning of the year, according to the UNHCR.

  • SirVic - 2011-07-15 15:26

    africans are used to moving around Africa but the sad part this day and age is that there are borders its no longer the caveman days.....eish!

      Ockert - 2011-07-15 15:52

      Yeah right then they would all be in RSA, in addition to all the iilegal Zims,Nigerians etc.

  • willieman - 2011-07-15 16:08

    What is the AU doing about this conflict 'cause it has been on for decades now.They are not even pro-active in curbing the drought that's occuring there.Are we still gonna sit and wait for the europeans and the west.What is our contribution ?

  • Captainmorgan - 2011-07-16 08:01

    Of course they need tents , so that when their bellies are full of free food aide from the west & they have built up a little stamina , they can bonk the nearest female in privacy and create a few more thousand oxygen thieves who will also need free food from the west in a very short time.

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