East African Center For Law & Justice


Refugees in Kenya

The drought situation that has rocked the Horn of Africa has resulted in large numbers of refugees moving to Kenya and Ethiopia. The estimated population of 1300 refugees from Somali streaming into Kenya daily has stretched the population of the camps to an estimate of more than 4 times their capacity.

In the Northern town of Kenya Dadaab, this move is taking a toll on the local citizens, making the already dire situation extremely unbearable. While the locals are willing to help the suffering refugees, their situation is not any better.

The land they used to graze their animals on has been converted to camp sites and the refugees are cutting down the trees to use as firewood. This has left the locals with limited grazing areas, not to mention the drought that has added insult to their already injured lifestyle.

Security in that area is also a problem due to the increasing population. When the refugees do not get enough food, they turn to breaking into their hosts’ shops to get the little supplies available or even go to extremes of raiding their animals.

The government of Kenya is reluctant to open another refugee camp in a bid to control the number of foreigners coming into this country as refugees. This move also comes as the borders of Kenya face risks from the neighboring countries. Recently a militia group from Ethiopia attacked and killed 13 Kenyans fishing at the shores of Lake Turkana.

The fact that some refugees from Somalia also trade with arms in a bid to get food or other crucial necessities, is an increased security concern to the locals in Dadaab.  An initiative by other able Kenyans from the rest of Kenya has helped get food, medicines and other necessities to the people affected by the drought, which has eased the harsh situation.

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