NAIROBI – Hundreds of refugees in Kenya’s Dadaab camps have been affected by a cholera outbreak as the population in the facilities grows rapidly, a humanitarian charity said Tuesday.
Doctors Without Borders, known by French acronym MSF, said that 2,786 refugees have been affected so far “and there is an imminent risk of outbreaks of other gastro-intestinal diseases.”
The Dadaab camps host more than 300,000 people and with the biting drought in neighboring Somalia, the numbers are on the rise, consequently straining water and sanitation services.
There are plans to open another camp in the complex to accommodate new arrivals and ease overcrowding.
“All efforts to ease the overcrowding must include significant investment in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector to ensure a minimum standard of living for refugees in all the camps,” said Hassan Maiyaki, MSF country director in Kenya.
MSF has urged stakeholders to respond urgently to the crisis in Dadaab and address sanitary conditions and prevent the further spread of diseases.
In 2016, the Kenyan government had announced plans to close down the Dadaab camps, citing insecurity because of reports that extremists from Somalia’s al-Shabab group were hiding there and the camps being a conduit for smuggling weapons.
The United Nations urged Kenya to reconsider that plan and continue to offer refuge to victims of violence and trauma.
The discussion on the closure has since then been on and off, with several ultimatums given to the U.N refugee agency, the latest being in 2021.
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