Photo gallery for Famine victims refused access to Kenya's showpiece refugee camp

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GETTY – A woman walks past the makeshift huts of newly arrived Somalian refugees on the edge of the Dagahaley refugee camp

GETTY – A woman walks past the makes ...

Famine victims refused access to Kenya's showpiece refugee camp

Sat, 2011-09-24 14:48 by admin

Authorities fear the new 'Ifo II' could be overwhelmed, reports Emily Dugan from Dadaab

Monday, 25 July 2011

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For years Bula Buqtu was the place where residents of Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp dumped the dead bodies of their parched animals. The graveyard acted as a physical reminder of the devastation that drought has wrought on the region.

Map showing Dabaab camp: Click to download (16k)

But as thousands of famine victims from southern Somalia descend on the world's largest refugee camp every day, Bula Buqtu – "place of the carcasses" in Somali – has become one of the few places left to set up a home.

Situated on the outskirts of Dagahaley camp, one of three refugee settlements in Dadaab in northern Kenya, aid agencies are struggling to provide water and latrines fast enough for its ballooning population. Here, desperate families have created shelter from woven twigs and scant scraps of material. With fresh water and facilities a long walk away, it offers scant refuge for those who have often walked for three weeks, with little food or water, to get here.

Yet, just up the road a pristine camp with the best facilities in the region – and enough space for up to 40,000 people – remains unopened. The camp, called Ifo II, was finished by a group of aid agencies, including the UK's Oxfam, last year but the Kenyan government refuses to open it.

It has five ready-built primary schools, a secondary school, four boreholes pumping out clean water, hundreds of latrines and even brick houses with proper corrugated roofs. All lie unused. Instead, more than 380,000 people are now trying to survive at the existing three camps in Dadaab, which were designed to serve less than half that number. …

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