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Starving Somalis flooding into refugee camps

An article in the National Post details how thousands of Somalis are walking for weeks to reach a United Nations refugee camp at Dadaab in northeastern Kenya. Many of them arrive acutely malnourished and dehydrated, with nothing but the clothes on their backs resulting from two years of severe drought exacerbated by high local cereal prices, massive livestock deaths and a raging civil war that restricts humanitarian assistance to most of central and southern Somalia.

An average of 1,400 people a day are arriving at Dadaab. Built 20 years ago to accommodate 90,000 refugees from Somalia’s civil war, the camp already houses over 380,000 displaced Somalis and before the summer is out foreign aid agencies expect it will house more than 500,000.

International aid agencies are struggling to cope with the crisis and are issuing urgent appeals for funds.

The UN’s refugee agency is seeking US$136-million in urgent aid, while the World Health Organization says it only has 22% of the funds it needs for Somalia and less than 5% of what it needs for Kenya.

The World Food Program is already providing food assistance to six million people in the Horn of Africa and predicts that will grow to 10 million before the year is out.

The refugee migration to Dadaab has become the “worst humanitarian disaster in the world,” said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

ACT will study adaptation to population displacement in relation to climate change in an upcoming program session. This global phenomenon is only increasing, and merits attention dedicated to long-term planning.

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