Kenya/Djibouti – 12th Update Situation on Somali refugee Crisis 8th October

Dear all,

Here is the twelfth update on the situation in Dadaab.

by Lennart Hernander, LWF Representative, Kenya/Djibouti Program

The bigger picture

The food security situation is in general expected to improve across the whole region except in southern Somalia. Famine is likely to spread even more in this area, and the outlook in this area has worsened – and therefore the outlook on refugees is that the current numbers of new arrivals will continue or even increase.  The food insecurity is also exacerbated by extremely high food and fuel prices – even if there is food available, the poorest people cannot afford it.

In Ethiopia it is projected that there will be normal crop production, with harvesting expected to start in October/November. However, enhanced rains may increase post-harvest losses in some areas. Likewise, the forecasts for crop production in western Kenya and the Rift Valley is positive, although sustained rains into the harvesting season could also here result in postharvest losses.


In Djibouti staple food prices are 63 per cent above the nominal five year average. As Djibouti imports over 95 per cent of its food, this price rise has pushed about 147,000 people into food insecurity. There are now 20,611 refugees registered in Djibouti (as of 30 September), 18,230 of them live in the refugee camp. The influx during 2011 is a total of 5,414 new refugees. Most refugees coming to Djibouti originate from Mogadishu, the Middle/Lower Shabele and Bay regions. They indicate that they have fled continuous fighting between the TFG forces and Al-Shabaab militia and they also reported important loss in livelihood because of the drought.

A row of classsrooms at Wadajir Primary School in Ali Addeh refugee camp, Djibouti. The school is operated by the Lutheran World Federation (c) Melany Markham/LWF 2011

It has also been reported that there is substantial migratory movements to Yemen via Obock region. At the Migration Response Centre (MRC) set up there, it was estimated that approximately 200 people are passing through Obock on a daily basis. Among the migrants interviewed by an assessment mission from UNHCR was a graduate Ethiopian student aged 27 who has decided with the support of his family, to proceed to Saudi Arabia seeking better living conditions. The conclusion is that the migration via Djibouti also involves educated people without hope, which means a different approach is needed.

A joint Task Force set up to boost the opening of a new camp in Holl-Holl has reported that construction work is going on, and more than 50% is ready. Regarding demarcation activities, to make land available for refugee settlement, more than 600 household land plots have been cleared bringing the hosting capacity to 3,000 individuals. UNHCR plans to start refugee transfer to the new camp when the community latrines have been completed at the transit center.


Arrivals in Dadaab

The number of daily new arrivals fluctuates, from a few hundred to over one thousand. There is a decline but it is too early to conclude whether this is permanent decline or temporary. The latest registered weekly arrival is 4,557 which means a daily average of 651. Of the new arrivals, 98.8% come from Somalia.

There is an increased concern for defectors from Al – Shabaab as well as TFG will come to the camps as refugees, and possibly also active members of any of the two sides., trying to find defectors and/or trying to recruit new fighters.


Family at registration - After arriving in Dadaab, Kenya, this family registered as refugees when they were issued with basic rations such as rice, water and soap. (c) LWF/ Melany Markham 2011


The new camps – relocations

In addition to the three “old” camps (Dagahaley, Ifo and Hagadera) there are now three new camps, Ifo 2, Ifo 3 and Kambioos. The three Ifo-camps will be organized into Ifo West and Ifo East so we will soon begin using new names. Many discussions are ongoing on who-will-do-what in the new camps, and in general the planning for 2012 is now done. It has been decided that all activities in the Ifo 3 (to be named Ifo East) camp will be done by the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) with support from the IFRC. IFRC has pledged to, with their own funding, do all construction work, roads, shelter, distributions, education etcetera in this part of Ifo and take the full operational and financial responsibility at least until the end of 2012. The decision is still very unclear however, as UNHCR says that some areas – e.g. protection – is still under the UNHCR and will be implemented as a cross cutting sector in all camps (this affects LWF as the Community Peace and Security Teams, CPSTs, falls under protection). It is also unclear whether the agreement between UNHCR and KRCS/IFRC include activities that other UN agency (e.g. WFP) has the responsibility for.

Whether the LWF will have any role at all here, is therefore not clear at the moment – meanwhile we continue to do the camp management, CPSTs, social work and other activities also in this camp. The official handing over to KRCS/IFRC has been set to October 15th. It is not unlikely that a number of responsibilities will change in 2012, with more agencies coming to Dadaab and more resources needed.

The current population of IFO 2 (Ifo West) now exceeds 40,000 and Ifo 3 (Ifo East) 30,000. Relocation to Kambioos, which started, later is now at around 10,000.

The “most likely scenario” is still 550,000 – 600,000 refugees in Dadaab in 2012, but at the same time a “realistic worse case” scenario now discussed is that there will be 700,000 refugees. In order to discuss and plan different scenarios and how to manage, UNHCR has called all major partners and Government of Kenya officials to a two day workshop in early November. At this workshop various scenarios and possible responses will be discussed.


Anaemia prevalence among children in the Dadaab camps is reported to be above 40 per cent. Malaria is reportedly on the rise in the Kakuma refugee camp and in Turkana County. There is a high likelihood of malaria outbreaks in Kakuma as well as in Dadaab during current onset of rains. Malaria prevention activities, especially treated mosquito nets, are highly needed.


A recent assessment by UNICEF shows that violence against children is widespread and frequent across all camps in Dadaab. It happens for some children on daily basis. Most common is various forms of corporal punishment by parents, teachers or community members; in some instances this can be severe. Also violence from other children and adolescents is prevalent.

Rapes and other sexual harassments can happen everywhere in all the camps and at any time. There have been rumours of girls being sold for prostitution, but there are no concrete examples or cases that can be verified. Some young men return to Somalia to visit their families, and some of these men are reportedly recruited by Al Shabaab.

The most significant problems faced by newly arrived children relate to children with disabilities and the fact that many children are far behind in their schooling or did not attend school at all in Somalia.
These issues must be addressed by all agencies working in Dadaab and in a multitude of ways, activities and approaches across all sectors. LWF is committed to use these findings and improve protection, in the work that we do, and also to improve on inclusive programming.


There have been clashes in Somali towns near the Kenya border, which are contributing to insecurity on the Kenyan side. Several security incidents have been reported near Dadaab, between Dadaab and the border and recently two cross border attacks from Somalia into Kenya have resulted in two tourists being kidnapped and held for ransom inside Somalia.

Thank you for all support, as we move along more support will be needed and there will be need for resources during a long period of time.


Lennart Hernander


LWF/DWS Kenya-Djibouti

This entry was posted in Emergencies, Somali Refugee Crisis 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Kenya/Djibouti – 12th Update Situation on Somali refugee Crisis 8th October

  1. Mary says:

    This is just so heartbreaking, but thank you for posting updates like this. People need to know. The more and more that people are exposed to what the situation truly is like for refugees, the closer we may get to the rest of their world opening their eyes to this humanitarian crisis playing out all the time all over the globe. I recommend Andy Lamey’s “Frontier Justice: The Global Refugee Crisis and What To Do About It” to help get people to start to really see what is happening in situations such as this one.

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