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Entries in Dadaab (7)

Friday
Aug052011

At Least 7 Killed in Somalian Famine Clash

TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images(DADAAB, Kenya) -- Refugees from Somalia are still arriving in Kenya, fleeing from a drought that is said to be the worst in 60 years.

Aid agencies on the border are working to provide temporary housing and food rations for the thousands who have trekked to the world's largest refugee camp.

What began as a United Nations aid effort in Somalia, has turned chaotic and violent. Witnesses say Somali government troops opened fire on famine refugees, killing at least seven people.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul312011

Refugee Camps Swell as East African Famine Worsens

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(DADAAB, Kenya) -- After many families make the long, perilous journey from Somalia to the refugee camps in Kenya, they are in for another excruciating wait.

Once the refugees get through the gate they are brought inside to be registered. Fingerprints are taken and then families receive yellow bands and are given a ration that is intended to last 20 days. However, it can take two months before families can enter into one of the refugee camps.

"It is a problem," said William Spindler, the UNHCR director.

Saturday the UN said that if families run out of food, they are allowed to come back for more. But few waiting in these desert outskirts know that.

More than 1,000 refugees arrive and register every day.

The camp has now swollen to 400,000 refugees, which is equal to the population of Cleveland or Minneapolis.

Beyond the swelling refugee camps here in Kenya, the UN warned this week in emergency meetings that more than 10 million people could face starvation across the horn of Africa unless they get food and quickly.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul282011

Kenya's Refugees: A Dangerous Trek for a Better Future

Oli Scarff/Getty ImagesREPORTER'S NOTEBOOK By David Muir

(DADAAB, Kenya) -- On Thursday, we made our way to the desolate, scorched landscape that is the final stretch of road between Somalia and the refugee camps in Kenya. It is a well-worn route that has been traveled on foot by tens of thousands of people desperate for food.

Mothers carrying their young children on the path to freedom have faced not only blistering heat, but also bandits who line the entire journey. Many have been forced to leave loved ones behind, too weak to complete the trek.

On the road Thursday, we met a mother who had been walking for 10 days. Her children had run ahead to the tents that pepper the horizon.

Tent cities have sprouted up as far as the eye can see. They are filled with families waiting to get into the refugee camps.

The refugees now spill out into the desert and doctors have started coming to them. The doctors are noticing that its not just the babies and toddlers that are going hungry, it's the older children, too. The famine is so severe, malnutrition is affecting 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds.

If they can just get the nutrients they need, most would be able to make a quick recovery.

Inside a maternity ward, a mother who gave birth to her baby on the road sat with her newborn. She said other mothers who were making the long journey saw her go into labor and helped deliver the baby girl.

That mother and her newborn were doing well at the refugee camp. There were likely thousands more coming after them, families making a dangerous trek not only to find food but to find a future for their children.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul242011

Kenya's Dadaab Refugee Camp Unable to Accommodate Growing Need

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(DADAAB, Kenya) -- Every day hundreds of refugees arrive at the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya after walking for weeks through the desolate terrain to escape drought and famine in Somalia.

The Somalian crisis has been brought on by a deadly combination of severe drought, with no rain in the region for two years, a huge spike in food prices and a brutal civil war.

It is too dangerous for international humanitarian aid workers to reach the almost 3 million people in need because of the insecurity and demands by Al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist organization that until recently had banned aid workers from operating in the region.

Somalis have no choice but to flee to neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.

But even at Dadaab, the world's largest refugee settlement comprised of three separate camps and now home to almost 400,000 Somalis, there is not enough space or supplies to meet the growing demand.

More than 1,300 refugees arrive at the camp every day, but workers do not have the means to provide everyone with the help they so desperately need, leaving many refugees waiting at the complex's gates.

There are only seven ambulance drivers for the 122,000 people sprawling across one of the three camps. They have no medical equipment or paramedics. The ambulances don't even have a siren to put on as they race to find the sick.

The complex is so vast and the tents are so spread out that even when the ambulances get a call about a woman in labor, it's usually too difficult to find her.

A growing number of women are being sexually assaulted on their long walk to the camps. Many will not talk about it because they are too ashamed.

It is the job of Sinead Murrey, the gender-based violence program manager of the Inyernational Red Cross, to lend these women a comforting ear.

"I think the challenges in Dadaab, it's such a complex environment even before the influx and now with the increase in volume, especially female head of households and large numbers of women and girls who have most likely experienced violence on the way ... is ... a massive challenge," Murrey said.

When asked why she takes on such a massive challenge, Murrey replied, "At a personal level? I am passionate about it."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul192011

Somalia Refugee Camp: Ambulance Driver Tries to Help Pregnant Refugees

File Photo. Refugees wait in the registration area of the Dagahaley refugee camp which makes up part of the giant Dadaab refugee settlement on July 19, 2011 in Dadaab, Kenya.Oli Scarff/Getty Images(DADAAB, Kenya) -- Omar Abdullahi Ali has perhaps one of the world's toughest and most heartbreaking jobs -- driving an ambulance in the middle of one of the worst humanitarian crises in history.

Several years of drought have decimated crops and livestock in Somalia, forcing hundreds of thousands of refugees to seek help in camps in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia. The Dadaab complex in eastern Kenya is the largest refugee camp in the world. Almost 400,000 Somalis now call it home, and more than 1,400 arrive every day.

The rainy season is not expected until October at the earliest, and the ongoing presence of al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups in Somalia have made it nearly impossible for international aid to get to the camps.

For Abdullahi Ali, it's not just the overwhelming crush of people in need, as dozens starve or are afflicted with infectious disease. There are no paramedics to help and no medical equipment. His ambulance, which really isn't an ambulance at all, just a white all-terrain vehicle, doesn't even have a siren, so Abdullahi Ali uses the horn to let patients know he is coming.

Out here, almost no one has a phone. Medical emergencies are reported through a loose word-of-mouth network that will hopefully reach Abdullahi Ali's walkie-talkie.

Locating patients among the sea of makeshift huts and white tents issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is incredibly difficult because the camps are so big and spread out. Some of the most critical patients are pregnant women and newborns, who are the most susceptible to disease.

One woman named Maloon Adan Mohammed gave birth a month ago to a son she named Hassan. Mohammed delivered her baby by herself in a tiny tent without any medical attention because there weren't enough ambulances in the area.

While out in search for another woman who was rumored to be in labor, Abdullahi Ali came upon more emergencies. By chance, he found a different woman, nine months pregnant and in pain. She will be one of the lucky ones who will be picked up by his ambulance, and given medical care with a warm bed and a full meal.

For other expectant mothers, there is little to do but wait for the sound of Abdullahi Ali's horn.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul182011

Somalian Drought and Famine Force Families to Make Dangerous Journeys

A Somali woman holds her severely malnourished baby inside a tent serving as a medical clinic which was established by the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM), in Mogadishu, on July 16, 2011. STUART PRICE/AFP/Getty Images(DADAAB, Kenya) -- The drought and famine in Somalia continue to leave families displaced and in desperate search for food and water. Tens of thousands of Somalis are fleeing the crisis, seeking refuge at camps in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.

For Abdullah Jareh and his wife, the search for life turned deadly. They left Somalia 25 days ago on foot with their mother and four children for Dadaab complex in eastern Kenya, the largest refugee camp in the world.

Somalis are walking as far as 50 miles to reach camps like Dadaab, a trek that could last weeks through the desolate terrain. It took Jareh and his family 25 grueling days under the harsh heat, winds and formidable terrain with little to eat or drink.

On their way, Jareh's wife died from gajoo -- a local word for hunger. Throughout the demanding trek, the mother gave up her small portions of food to her four children. But despite the mother's deadly sacrifice, the doctor at the Dadaab refugee camp rushed the youngest son Aden to a makeshift hospital for malnourishment.

Abdullah Jareh says he cannot bear to tell his children they will not see their mother again. They are too young, he says, to understand how her life was taken so quickly, so soon.

Stories of heartbreak and pain are not unique to Abdullah Jareh and his family, who are among tens of thousands of victims of the drought and famine in Somalia. Almost 400,000 Somalis now call the Dadaab complex home, and more than 1,300 arrive every day. While the conditions at the refugee camps are difficult as well, many refugees say they are happier in the camps because at least they can find some food and rations to get by.

The crisis has been brought on by a deadly combination of severe drought, with no rain in the region for two years, a huge spike in food prices and a brutal civil war in Somalia, where it is too dangerous for aid workers to operate.

And each day, the situation is spiraling downward. Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), stressed, "The drought, compounded by prevailing violence in southern and central parts of the country, is turning one of the world's worst humanitarian crises into a human tragedy of unimaginable proportions," Fleming said.

''Unless we can get humanitarian aid into this part of the world, unless we can scale up our operations to meet the growing need, this crisis could turn into a catastrophe and that's what we've got to stop," said Andrew Wander of Save the Children.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul172011

Somalia Drought 'One of the Largest Humanitarian Crises in Decades'

George Doyle/Thinkstock(MOGADISHU) -- Tens of thousands of people are fleeing drought and famine in Somalia in search of food and water in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.

The crisis has been brought on by a deadly combination of severe drought, with no rain in the region for two years, a huge spike in food prices and a brutal civil war. The region is so violent it has become too dangerous for aid workers.

Somalians are walking as far as 50 miles to reach the Dadaab complex in eastern Kenya, the largest refugee camp in the world. The trek can take weeks through punishing terrain, which is desolate except for the carcasses that litter the land.

Tamima Mohammed, who has travelled for 35 days with her seven children to get to Dadaab, is among the refugees. Mohammed lies listless, covered in chicken pox, with no help in sight. She is still waiting to see a doctor. Her children are visibly malnourished, but Mohammed's sack of grains is empty. She said she'll have to beg her neighbors for something to eat.

Even after enduring these difficult circumstances, leaving behind everything they own and arriving with only the clothes on their backs, many refugees say they are happier in the camps because at least they can find some food and rations to get by.

Almost 400,000 Somalis now call the Dadaab complex home, and more than 1,300 arrive every day.

''The people that are arriving are absolutely desperate. They haven't eaten for weeks, they've been travelling for a long, long time in very difficult situations,'' said Andrew Wander of Save the Children.

''Unless we can get humanitarian aid into this part of the world, unless we can scale up our operations to meet the growing need, this crisis could turn into a catastrophe and that's what we've got to stop," Wander said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio