Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopia camps barely fit for humans: Oxfam
About 1.4 million Somalis who have fled the violence are now trapped in horrifically overcrowded or poorly managed camps in
Oxfam says poor sanitation and little access to basic services such as water and medicine due to an ineffective response are creating a public health emergency in camps, which needs to be urgently addressed.
"Somalis flee one of the world`s most brutal conflicts and a desperate drought, only to end up in unimaginable conditions in camps that are barely fit for humans, says Oxfam International spokesman for the Horn of Africa Robbert Van den Berg.
"Hundreds of thousands of children are affected, and the world is abandoning the next generation of Somalis when they most need our help. Why does it seem like you matter less in this world if you are from
In Northern Kenya, each and every month, around 8000 Somali refugees pour into Dadaab camp. Now home to 280 000 people, the camp was originally built to only house a third of that amount.
The severe overcrowding means many families do not have regular access to latrines or clean water, and in some of the worst parts of the camp over 20 families share one single latrine.
"The Kenyan government has repeatedly promised to provide more land to ease the overcrowding but has so far failed to do so, despite the urgent and critical needs. More pressure from the international community is needed to make it happen", Van den Berg continued.
The UN refugee agency`s response to the impending crisis has been weak and inefficient. Oxfam called on the agency to exercise much greater leadership in ensuring Somalis get adequate assistance by supporting host countries to respond effectively to the humanitarian crisis.
"In all three locations – Afgooye, Dadaab and Bokolmayo – the services being provided to vulnerable and desperate people are far below international standards. While NGOs need to scale up their response, donors cannot shy away from providing funding for this emergency. This is a human tragedy of unthinkable proportions where countless people have now been deprived of a home and a sense of normality for months and months," says Van den Berg.
"Ultimately, the root cause of the problems in all of these camps is the ongoing conflict, lawlessness and humanitarian disaster inside
Pic: Refugee camp
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