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Humanitarian tragedy in East Africa
People who fled the drought in Somali and have taken shelter in camps in Kenya are undergoing a real humanitarian tragedy. These people who fled regions which received no rain over the past three year
Africa, Kenya 23.07.2011

Drought felt in the East African countries has reached an alarming level. It is said that  drought affects 11,5 million people. People have to leave their countries due to drought and hunger triggered by drought. In Somali which is one of the countries hit severely by the drought, people leave their houses and take refuge in neighboring countries being mainly in Kenya and Ethiopia. Currently, there are 480,000 people who have taken refuge at Kenya’s Dadaab camp. Teams from the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation have taken urgent action to help the drought-stricken people. A four-member IHH team has reached in Kenya and launched relief work at the Dadaab camp.

480,000 people have taken refuge in a 90,000-people-capacity camp

IHH Emergency Aid Coordinator Recep Güzel who coordinates relief efforts in the region said there is an ongoing tragedy in the camps. He said people fleeing drought take refuge in the camps; however, they face serious risks there due to inadequate infrastructure. Güzel said Dadaab camp can normally accommodate 90,000 people; however, 480,000 people have taken refuge at this camp and the number of people coming to the camp is increasing day by day. Noting that the camp is established on a large area, he said people make use of paper boxes and grass to have a place to sleep.

Walking 400 kilometers to reach the camps

Giving some information about the efforts of the IHH in the region, Güzel said: “As the IHH team, we have immediately rushed to the region in the wake of the drought and launched the necessary relief efforts there. We have given priority to the Dadaab camp in Kenya. There is now a real humanitarian tragedy at the camp. People who want to flee drought in Somali came to Dadaab camp in Kenya by walking 400 kilometers of distance under scorching heat.”

People lose their lives on the way to the camps

Güzel said some people who fled the drought in Somali have lost their lives on their way to the refugee camps. “The journey to Kenya became a journey to death for some. Considering that families have an average of four children, the problems of the journey have become more pressing and there have been some who lost their lives on the way to the camps,” added Güzel.

Stressing that people at the Dadaab camp have their lives at risk due to the inadequate infrastructure in the camps, Güzel said: “Some regions of Somali have received no rain over the past three years. People who have come here are dealing with many problems. There is almost no infrastructure at the camp. People sleep on paper boxes. Particularly children and the women have been affected by the walk under scorching heat. They look very exhausted and lack the energy even to move. We have given priority to improve the situation of the women and the children first. As the IHH, we have delivered 3,000 packages of milk, 2,500 packages of biscuits and corn flour at the camp.”

IHH to establish coordination center in Kenya

Güzel also noted that the IHH has launched work to establish a center to coordinate relief efforts in the camp regions in Kenya. He said the foundation will continue to make efforts to meet the needs of the people in the camps. “The IHH has sent a second aid team to Kenya. We will move to Somali which is also severely hit by drought and coordinate relief efforts there after the arrival of second IHH team here. As far as what we learn from friends there, the situation in Somali is worse than the situation here. They say there are dead bodies in roadsides. We will simultaneously continue relief efforts in Somali and Kenya. Our request from our nation is not to leave these people alone ahead of the upcoming holy month of Ramadan,” said Güzel.

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