Dadaab, Kenya: “How many more crises will it take before we start looking for a solution?”

14.06.2012 | General


Dadaab/Nairobi,
14 June 2012 – On Thursday 14 June, ahead of World Refugee Day, the internationalhumanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will launch Out of Somalia, a book about life at the world’s biggest refugee camp as seen by two comic book authors. MSF will also hold an event at which key stakeholders and the media will discuss the
future of Dadaab.

Dadaab now has a bigger population than Nakuru, Kenya’s fourth largest city. While it has slipped down the news agenda in recent months, the situation for Dadaab’s half a million refugees remains desperate.

At MSF’s hospital in Dagahaley – one of the five camps that make up Dadaab – staff conduct an average of 14,000
medical consultations a month. In recent months there have been outbreaks of measles and cholera, and the number of people with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is on the rise. On top of this, security has worsened, and registration
of new refugees has been stopped for the past eight months. Facing this reality, it is clear that keeping the camps as they are for another 20 years is not an option. But what is the alternative?

“How many more nutritional crises or measles epidemics will it take before we start looking for a solution?” says MSF’s Dr Elena Velilla. “Refugees in Dadaab face the double burden of poor conditions in congested camps on the one
hand, and indefinite exile on the other. Twenty years after the camps were established, history seems to be repeating itself. It is clear that the paradigm of the camp has to be challenged.”

Distinguished speakers at the panel discussion will include: Mr Badu S Katelo, Commissioner for Refugee Affairs at the Ministry of State for Immigration and Registration of Persons; Mr Abel Mbilinyi, Deputy Country Representative of the UNHCR; Mr Bare Osman Abdi, Dagahaley YouthVice-Chairman; Ms Kellie Leeson,Country Director of the International Rescue Committee (IRC); and Dr Elena Velilla, Head of Mission of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders(MSF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation. It provides independent,impartial assistance in more than 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect or catastrophe, primarily due to armedconflict, epidemics,malnutrition,exclusion from healthcare annatural
disasters

In October 2011, twoMSF aid workers, Montserrat Serra and Blanca Thiebaut, were abducted in Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya while carrying out emergency assistance for the Somali population. They remain
in captivity, and MSF, while continuing to respond to acute crises, has put on hold the opening of any
non-emergency projects in Somalia until their release.

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