Vulnerable groups get EC funding

June 22, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 22 – The European Commission has allocated Sh864 million in humanitarian aid to help vulnerable people in Kenya, including Somalis in the Dadaab refugee camp, ahead of the World Refugee Day that was marked on Friday.

Dadaab is now the largest refugee camp in the world.

The funds are channelled through the Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) under the direct responsibility of Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.

Michel said: "On the eve of World Refugee Day, it is important to highlight the enormous humanitarian challenge we face in tackling the suffering of millions of refugees and uprooted people worldwide. Their basic rights should not be forgotten. The Commission is fully engaged on their side and deploys considerable resources to bring them relief, and improve their living conditions."

He added: "I am particularly concerned about the way the situation is developing in Dadaab. The camp was designed for 90,000 people and has now become the biggest of the world, hosting a staggering 275,000 refugees! With the resumption of fighting in Somalia, arrivals are soaring and the pressure on services has reached breaking point."

The funding decision for Kenya involves at least €4 million for direct support to refugees in Dadaab with the remainder for drought-affected populations in the country. The aid will include food, healthcare, water/sanitation facilities, basic household items and shelter.

The EC says Kenya remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Half of its population of around 34 million people live below the poverty line. The country also hosts around 250,000 refugees from neighbouring conflict–prone countries especially Somalia.

Kenya faces recurrent droughts and floods of increasing severity, leaving people in some parts, especially the north, in need of humanitarian assistance.

Livestock losses caused by drought, the lack of sustained development plus the increase in local populations, have diminished the assets of many pastoralist communities.

With little or no recovery time between the droughts, the livelihoods of millions of people in the livestock- dependent areas of Kenya are under threat.


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