Thirty Thousand Somalis Given Shelter as IOM Pitches Last Tents at Camp in Kenya

By International Office of Migration (IOM)

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 16, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IOM teams in Kenya have completed the pitching of 8,315 tents providing shelter to 30,000 Somalis displaced by drought who could not be accommodated at the heavily over-crowded Daadab refugee camp.

The tents have been pitched on an extended site at IFO 2, close to Dadaab which is currently hosting more than 383,000 Somali refugees.

The Somalis have been arriving in north-eastern Kenya from Somalia since early this year following the onset of drought-related famine in several parts of the country. More than 1,400 Somali refugees were arriving at Dadaab at the peak of the crisis, though those numbers have now dropped to less than 100 a day.

The work to pitch the tents started on the 9th August, but had to be stopped in October for over a month due to insecurity and a lack of tents. By this time, more than 7,650 tents had been put up, providing shelter for 27,000 people.

Three thousand Somalis will be relocated to the newly-pitched tents at IFO 2 extension before the end of the year by IOM. They have been living in and around Dagahaley on the outskirts of Dadaab in makeshift tents unable to protect them from the elements including heavy rains which have worsened their living conditions.

Their relocation to IFO 2 and to proper tents will not only provide better protection from the weather but will reduce their vulnerability to illnesses and snake bites. It will also mean they will receive more systematic humanitarian aid and services.

Meanwhile, IOM, in collaboration with UNHCR and the Ethiopian government's Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA), is continuing to relocate displaced Somalis in Ethiopia. The Somalis are being taken from the overcrowded Dollo Ado Transit camp to the new Bur Amino camp. Nearly 1,500 people have been transported since the opening of Bur Amino on 30th November.

Dollo Ado has recently witnessed an increase in the number of new arrivals from Somalia. Since early December, more than 700 Somalis have been arriving at the centre daily in comparison to the less than 500 daily arrivals over the past three months.

IOM staff on the ground say heavy rains which had made rivers swell and roads impassable had hindered the flight of some of the Somalis to Ethiopia.