Tents coming for Somalia refugees

July 16, 2011 8:41 am


Tents housing refugees at a camp in Syria/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 16 – The first batch of tents to assist Somali refugees in Kenya is expected to arrive in Nairobi on Sunday according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Following the crisis at the Kenyan refugee camps UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres in a statement said 100 tonnes of tents being airlifted from Kuwait will arrive on Sunday and subsequent six other flights will arrive in the next two weeks from their stocks in Islamabad, Pakistan.

“The UNHCR airlift, starting with a Boeing 747 flight carrying tents from out stockpiles in Kuwait is expected to deliver first load to Nairobi tomorrow (Sunday),” the statement indicated.

The other six flights are expected to deliver 600 tonnes of tents to revitalise the dilapidated materials at the Dadaab camp.

The help came in as Mr Guterres commended Kenya for opening the Ifo II camp to ease the overwhelming numbers at the Dadaab camp.

He pledged that UNHCR would give Kenya full support to cater for the upsurge of the refugees.

“Mr Guterres has welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister Raila Odinga that Kenya is to open the Ifo II extension at the Dadaab refugee complex near the border with Somalia,” the statement read.

According to the UNHCR, individual letters were sent to the President and the Prime Minister promising to assist Kenya cope with the growing number of the refugees.

Mr Guterres said the opening of the new camp would relieve the deteriorating conditions caused by congestion at the Dadaab camp.

UNHCR has indicated that there are 380,000 Somali refugees at the Dadaab camp which is supposed to cater for 90,000 refugees.

“Including those living on the camp outskirts the number of Somali refugees in and around the Dadaab camp has swollen to 380,000,” the statement read.

The Dadaab camp has hit the world record as it is classified as one of the largest, most congested and one of the remotest refugee camps in the world with a plot designed to be occupied by one family holding five families.

Despite security concerns with the upsurge of Somali refugees, Kenya took a brave step to open the Ifo II camp on Wednesday.

The US government which has also hailed Kenya’s gesture pledged its full support but also appealed to the rest of the donor community to extend their support to Kenya to deal with the refugee crises.

The Dadaab camp established in 1991 was declared full in 2008 but refugees have been arriving in their thousands.


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