Here is the tenth update on the situation in Dadaab.
The bigger picture
According to FEWSNET (Famine Early Warning Systems Network) 750,000 people in Somalia are at risk of death in the coming four months. Tens of thousands of people have reportedly already died, over half of whom are children. As has been reported previously, famine is expected to spread further across southern Somalia over the coming months. The current crisis in Somalia is driven by a combination of factors. There was a total failure of the October – December 2010 Deyr rains (the so called short rains) and thereafter there was a poor performance of the April – June 2011 Gu 2011 rains (or long rains). Large-scale displacement and significant limitations on humanitarian access (due to the civil war) have significantly worsened the situation.
There are reports of an increase in the number of both measles and Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) cases inside Somalia. The movements of famine-affected people continued from the southern regions into Mogadishu, Ethiopia and Kenya, though at generally slower rates than what was seen in July and August.
Somaliland authorities have given a one month’s notice to all those who they label as illegal migrants to leave the territory. It is estimated that this will affect over 80,000 migrants, mainly from neighboring Ethiopia, currently living in Somaliland. However, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the south – central Somalia are reportedly not targeted by this ultimatum. IOM and UNHCR have raised their concern that this will have very negative impacts on the coexistence of refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants and the host communities in Somaliland. It will also impact on parts of Ethiopia if 80,000 people are forced to return during this time of food insecurity and water shortage.
In Kenya, the national meteorological service projects that rainfall is expected to be high (normal or above normal) in the coastal and southeastern lowlands as well as the central parts of Kenya, with a potential for flooding. Five consecutive weeks of above average rainfall has already caused flooding in the Lake Victoria region of western Kenya, damaging infrastructure, displacing people and destroying crops. Additional rains will further worsen conditions.
In Djibouti over 19,000 refugees have been registered in Ali Addeh refugee camp, including 17,532 Somalis. A new refugee camp is planned in Holl – Holl, to ease pressure from Ali Addeh which has a planned capacity of only 5,000 refugees, is not yet complete.
Arrivals in Dadaab
The number of refugees arriving in Dadaab continues to be very high. The September daily average is 936 people (up to September 13).
From September 19 all new refugees will be registered the day after arrival at Dadaab. There will be separate days for “backlog fixing”, to work through the backlog in registration of refugees who have arrived earlier. There are several reasons for this, one being to further reduce the risks of double registration (being registered as a new arrival twice) and to reduce the risk of host community Kenyans registering as refugees. Verifications will be carried out to make sure the total number of refugees are verified. Assistance packages upon arrival (before registration) will be reduced and as soon as possible be discontinued. Again this is done to eliminate the temptation to come back and pose as a new refugee during the waiting period between arrival and registration, and eliminate the same temptation for host community Kenyans to pose as refugees.
More than 42,000 persons have been re-located from the outskirts of the old camps to Kambi Oos and Ifo extensions. This is about half of the persons that lived on the outskirts mid July. Relocation continues and new refugees are also allocated plots in the new camps after registration.
Following the previously reported two confirmed cases of cholera in the Dadaab Camps, there are subsequently six new suspected cases of cholera. Cholera Treatment Centre (CTC) sites have been established in the Ifo extension and in Dagahaley. Diarrhoeal disease management supplies have arrived in Garissa and surveillance has been heightened. Meanwhile, the measles outbreak continues, with 162 confirmed cases in Dadaab. The increase continues to be amongst the new arrivals and notably in persons above 15 years of age.
On 16th of September UNHCR sent the following alert to all partners in Dadaab:
“As of early September 2011, al-Shabaab planned to kidnap aid workers working in the Ifo, Hagadera, and Dadaab refugee camps. The insurgents were targeting workers primarily from the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP), German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), and the UN Development Program (UNDP)“.
Two suspected members of Al – Shabaab were arrested between the IFO and Hagadera camps at a check point. Two Tokarev pistols were also recovered at that time. This represents the latest in a series of reports on threats in the vicinity of Dadaab. The threat of kidnapping, especially closer to the border, is a viable and long-standing threat (both in terms of ‘kidnapping for ransom’ and ‘abduction for political purposes’).
Security checks have increased, and we will be more restrictive with visitors to the Camps until more information is available. We also want to – again – emphasize that there are very real security concerns in and near Dadaab and all visitors must follow the security protocols.
Again I want to thank all of you for all your generous support – especially in these times of financial hardships at home! The refugees in Dadaab will continue to need your support for several months to come, maybe longer than that – at the moment we receive, allocate plots and provide the needed services to thousands of new refugees.
With an influx of 4,500 – 5,000 new persons every week this work continues. But there is also a great need to ensure services are provided to the refugees who already live in Dadaab – some of them having lived there for 20 years. Some of them were born there – and more than 8,000 children living in Dadaab were born by women who were born in the Dadaab camps.
Dadaab is a long term commitment, but the real solutions to the problems in Somalia is – of course – not found in any of the five camps near Dadaab. We must also work for peace, development, disaster risk reduction, food security, sustainable livelihoods etcetera – while we, at the same time, support the more than 400,000 women, men, girls and boys that now live in congested camps near Dadaab.