Kenya, 5 August 2011: UNICEF delivering for children of Dadaab as needs in host communities and camps grow
GENEVA/NAIROBI/DADAAB, Kenya, 5 August 2011 - UNICEF is ramping up operations to meet the rising humanitarian needs of Somali children and families in the Dadaab refugee camps and surrounding host communities.
UNICEF has dispatched medicines to the health centre in Liboi, including health kits sufficient to support about 10,000 people, for use by the host community and for the treatment of refugees crossing into Kenya.
“Many Somali families who cross into Kenya at Liboi do not realise they must walk another 100 kilometres before arriving at the refugee camps in Dadaab,” says Olivia Yambi, UNICEF Kenya Representative. “The health of some malnourished children crossing at Liboi is so precarious that they simply cannot wait until they get to Dadaab for treatment.”
“The positioning of health and nutritional supplies close to the border will save children’s lives that might otherwise have been lost on the long journey to Dadaab.”
UNICEF is also supporting integrated campaigns for measles and polio immunization, deworming and Vitamin A supplementation, in Dadaab and the host communities in Liboi, Garissa and part of Wajir. More than 200,000 children under five will be reached through the immunization campaign over the coming weeks. Over 100,000 children have already been vaccinated.
“Malnutrition can weaken a child’s immune system, increasing their susceptibility to infectious diseases like measles and polio,” says Ibrahim Conteh, UNICEF Dadaab Emergency Coordinator. “We are acting now because these diseases can spread very quickly in overcrowded conditions like we have now in the camps.”
Access to clean water and sanitation is essential for securing the health and well-being of children. In Dadaab, UNICEF is facilitating access to clean water for 22,000 refugees on the outskirts of the camps by providing 1,600 jerry cans and two water bladders. UNICEF is also working with partners to install 16 water points for refugees walking from the border along three major influx routes to Dadaab.
In education, UNICEF is planning to construct 146 new learning centres/classrooms in the camps to accommodate newly-arrived refugees and alleviate congestion in pre-existing schools. These centres will be situated in camp outskirts where many newly-arrived refugees live.
UNICEF and Save the Children have also reached more than 2,000 children in the camps over the past week through providing child-friendly spaces. UNICEF is participating in a UNHCR-led assessment of gender-based violence in collaboration with partners in light of the expansion of support to the camps and the host community.
Across the region, UNICEF estimates it will need almost USD$315 million over the next six months to scale up operations to reach children in the Horn of Africa’s drought affected areas with emergency and preventative assistance. The focus is on providing integrated interventions addressing aspects of a child’s survival and development.
For further information, please contact:
Horn of Africa emergency