Here is a seventh update on the situation in Dadaab.
The bigger picture
The Dadaab – area host communities (Garissa District) are also assessed to be at what is called “Emergency food insecurity” level (IPC 4). They are also vulnerable to further deterioration in food security as drought conditions intensify. Prospects for improvement are compromised by a severely degraded agro – ecology that may not fully support vegetation, even in the event of a good rainy season. And although rates of Global Acute Malnutrition in Garissa are at 16.2 % (measured using Weight for Height), they are significantly lower than in other pastoral districts of Kenya.
Most open water sources have dried up in the Dadaab host community area, except for a few in Ijara, leading to severe water shortage.
There has been an upsurge in resource‐based conflicts in Kenya, in the areas where livestock have migrated to, mainly the southeastern marginal agricultural districts, around Mt. Kenya, and the few limited permanent water points within the province. It was reported that the government has allowed partial grazing of livestock inside some of the game reserves to minimize conflict.
In Kakuma/Turkana there were some heavy rains last week – up to 100 mm in one day (annual average is 250 mm). Hardest hit was a water booster station operated by LWF in the Kakuma refugee camp, where five pipes of a main pipeline were washed away. We therefore had to relocate the main line to another route which needed 35 extra pipes. All the other sources are safe up to now but one borehole is still threatened by the seasonal river eroding the surrounding area.
Arrivals in Dadaab
The influx of refugees to Dadaab continues but at slightly lower a rate of up to 800 – 1,200 new arrivals/day. Upon arrival each refugee undergoes medical screening within designated sites at the reception centers. Food sufficient for 21 days is distributed for each family by CARE, who is the lead agency in this, at an amount that provides for 2,137 kcal per person per day. This include high nutrition biscuits and also water. Food needs are met for all refugees passing through reception centers, but there are gaps in the housing and sanitation for new arrivals. Some new arrivals are settling in areas that essentially are in the path of a seasonal river which will become very problematic at the onset of the short rains in late October.
Ifo 2 has now begun to receive refugees, re-located from the outskirts of Dagahaley. About 200 families had settled by 22nd of August and settling is going on. Refugees have also begun to settle at Kambi Oos, near Hagadera and the settlement in Ifo 3 is continuing. These new sites reduced the pressure on the outskirts – but still the total planned capacity is well below the actual number of refugees. In Kambi Oos, which a bit far away and not yet fully established, there have been several protection issues and we are looking at increasing the security in Kambi Oos. As parts of this camp is still only bush, and due to lack of facilities the distances to collect firewood and to latrines are long, there has been an increased attention on protection and on safe planning for female headed households.
By August 11 a total of 7,809 plots had been demarcated and 69 km of roads had been cleared by the LWF, in the Ifo extension and Kambi Oos, other agencies are now pitching tents here. 11 blocks in Kambi Oos is now ready for tent pitching.
Protection – SGBV
There has been increased focus on protection and on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
LWF’s trained community peace and security teams (the “community police” by trained refugees, known as CPSTs) are often the first to be in contact with the victims. Upon receipt of such a report, the CPSTs help the victims to report the matter to the police and refer the victims to the implementing agencies in SGBV (this is either CARE or IRC). They will then take the victims to the hospital where the exhibit is collected and investigated and the victims are cared for and treated. The responsible agency then assists the victims to pursue their case and they also offer counseling and psychosocial support according to the SGBV standard operating procedures (SOPS)
Even though LWF Dadaab does not implement prevention and response to SGBV as responsible partner, as the agency in charge of peace and safety as well as community structures and camp management, we play a key role in both prevention and response through training of CPSTs on SGBV documentation. LWF also works with the reporting channels and works with women empowerment and women leaders, through trainings to encourage communities to report SGBV incidences. LWF is also in charge of the management of the Safe Haven where some victims of SGBV are usually referred by implementing agencies and also by the UNHCR. At the Safe Haven, in addition to the psycho social support given, LWF facilitates the women to engage in various activities
LWF runs education in the Hagadera Refugee Camp at three different levels, namely; Primary (with currently 8,257 boys and 5,074 girls enrolled), adult (with 1,005 male and 609 female learners] and pre-school unit (with 687 boys and 644 girls). The total enrolment of learners benefiting from this intervention is 14,945. There are many challenges to education in the refugee camps with one of them being the shortage of learning spaces.
Out of 13,214 children in Hagadera (according to the UNCHR July statistics) of ages between 3 and 5 years, only 1,614 are accessing schools.
LWF has received a small grant from UNICEF to equip Early Childhood Development Centers (ECDS) that shall accommodate all the learners from the neighboring blocks within the age bracket of 5-7 years old, after which the learner is ready to join class one in the primary schools. The aim of this is to provide a conducive and child friendly learning space, improve the accessibility to education by 10%, improve the quality of education, increase primary one school enrolment by 10% annually, provide child protection and promote child rights, promote girl child education and to provide learning materials, play and sanitary equipments.
This is very encouraging – but much more is needed to be done in the education sector in Hagadera as well as the other both old and new camps.
As the drought continues, the population increases and available water has reduced – the LWF has decided to increase the water trucking by one additional 10,000 litres capacity water boozer (in addition to one already in place). The water trucking is focused on the host community, living far from available water and also seriously affected by the drought.
All our staff work hard and are very dedicated. As the workload increases, we have also increased the number of staffs and also “borrowed” staff from Kakuma refugee camp to Dadaab, and from Nairobi. At the moment we have rotated some staffs out of Dadaab, for Rest and Recreation (R&R) and leave – in order to come back in early September with new energy and refreshed minds. As the number of refugees seems to increase and remain at a high level for some time, the staffing level will increase beyond the emergency phase. Staff accommodation is becoming a major challenge and more staffs live in tents and share tents – for periods of 7 weeks (before they go home for 1 week on R&R).
Interns, volunteers, seconded staff
We are truly humbled by the many people contacting us offering to volunteer, looking for internship and also wanting to visit Dadaab to see what is happening there first hand. We are very, very grateful for this solidarity and support, this willingness to assist and help out in different capacities. We must however, almost always turn these offers down. First of all at the moment all staffs are fully engaged, often working 12-14 hours per day and many times also on weekends, making sure that the job is done. As more regular staff comes onboard, this will help the situation. When the staffs that have been on R&R come back to Dadaab again the situation will also improve. But as we all know – in the beginning new staff members need attention, support and mentoring from the once who have been there for a while. So in short run, the pressure and workload on the “old” ones remain very high.
We can only receive additional staffs that have very specific experiences within the areas where we see defined gaps, and anyone coming must be able to work independently from the start. At the moment, we cannot receive any interns, volunteers or secondments – we are very happy for those who have been to Dadaab, and are in Dadaab now, and they are doing an amazing job – thank you to Dave Ballantyne, John Davison, Natalie Dale, Melany Markham and others.
Visitors and journalists
We also receive many, many visitors – mostly photographers and journalists but also Directors, senior and junior staff from various partners, related agencies, UN and others. We welcome visitors of all kinds to the LWF Kenya – Djibouti program, and we are very happy to show the work that we do as well as the general situation in Dadaab. We also appreciate the importance of communication, and of first hand information. We just want all visitors and journalists to accept the following few principles;
- Security is a concern in Dadaab even if the general feeling is safe. All visitors must follow security advisories given by LWF and UNHCR (e.g. including the use of escorts, where to stay/not to stay etcetera). There have been two shooting incidents in the area during the past month and there has been one carjacking in the area not so long ago, etcetera.
- The operation in Dadaab has been going for many years – but is scaling up and increasing. This means there are procedures for most areas, including procedures and rates for payments to police escorts, etcetera. We ask all visitors to minimize the use of special escorts (as all escort capacity is needed for the relief work) and to follow standard procedure and rates.
- We do really appreciate visits – but our first priority is always the refugees and the host communities. Many things can change very rapidly, in terms of activities, opportunities or context. E.g. LWF was given approval to start planning the new Kambi Oos camp from nothing on a Friday afternoon, requested by UNHCR to have the first plots ready for re-location of refugees on Monday morning. But, we do ask of all visitors to understand that for operational reasons we may have to change, adjust or shorten certain visits with very short notice – in order to serve the rights and needs of refugees and communities better.
I again want to sincerely thank all of you for the support given to our work in Dadaab, and also in Kakuma/Turkana and Djibouti! All funds received are immediately channeled to the activities implemented on the ground. So far we have raised just over 40% of the funding requested under the LWF part of the Somalia appeal (appeal SOM 111) and some has also been raised to the work in Turkana (under appeal KEN 111). We hope for your continued support – every contribution makes a big difference!