Young Somali refugees living in the world’s largest refugee camp, in Kenya, have sent letters of encouragement to Syrian refugee children who have also had to flee their homeland. The young Somali students reside in the Dadaab refugee camp, in north-eastern Kenya. It is home to nearly 400,000 refugees, the majority of whom have fled conflict, drought and famine in Somalia over the last 23 years. Care International, the aid agency that provides many basic services at the camp, organised the pen pal exchange and delivered the handwritten letters to Syrian children at the Refugee Assistance Centre in Amman, Jordan.They offer messages of solidarity, encouragement and advice to their “dear brothers and sisters”.

-BBC “Syria crisis: Uplifting Letters of Hope”

Perhaps the best line: “Be the stars and the new presidents of Syria.”
Africa’s Week in Pictures by the BBC 8-15 May 2015

Nigeria’s commercial, capital, Lagos, held its annual carnival on Saturday…

Some students watched performances through the school fence…

A comedian entertained the crowd by “eating” broken glass…

While these young people chose to enjoy the day by rollerskating…

Four days later, an Egyptian singer celebrates the birthday of Zeinab, the granddaughter of Prophet Mohammad, near her shrine in Cairo

On Friday, a piece entitled “Slave Chain with Four Yokes” from a vodou convent in Benin, is displayed a museum in Point-a-Pitre in France to commemorate the abolition of the slave trade

The next day, refugees sit on a wall with a mural on hygiene at the Dadaab camp in north-eastern Kenyan. It is the world’s largest refugee camp, accommodating mainly Somalis

While on Wednesday, Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o poses as she arrives for the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival in south-eastern France

On Saturday, Bastia’s Ivory Coast striker Giovanni Sio heads the ball next to Rennes’ French Senegalese defender Cheik Mbengue. Bastia won the match, played in Rennes, 1-0

By the BBC

anonymous asked:

Do u fink dat some humanitarian crises get more attention than others Not playing the oppressionOlympics but from what Ive seen from the media alone the MiddleEast get more attention than the Congo for example even though 6 million have died since98'

100% yes.

I know what you mean by “oppression olympics” but I feel it is also important to point out the quiet, hushed racism that plays a major part in the media watering down the devastation of a crisis in one part of the world, but highlighting another issue some place else.  

With regards to what is being christened as the “latest” refugee crisis in the media emanating from Syria is interesting because Syrian refugees have been fleeing the country since 2011. For 4 years now Syrians have been seeking refuge in neighbouring countries: 

1.8 million refugees fled to Turkey
1.2 million fled to Lebanon
I believe almost 800k fled to Jordan + Yemen 

Millions of Syrians have been fleeing life threatening, devastating, unlivable circumstances for nearly half a decade but only now, in 2015, as the burden only slightly shifts to Europe does it maintain spotlight eligibility. In comparison to the millions of refugees that’ve fled to countries within the MENA region, the number of refugees that Europe has agreed to resettle is minimal. 

But an even more pressing, heartbreaking and disappointing example is how the ongoing refugee crisis faced by Eritreans, Somalis and other refugees from North East/Central Africa is entirelyyyyyyy overlooked. For YEARS Somali refugees living in Dadaab refugee camps have been faced with the hurdles of infectious disease, lack of freedom of movement and an imminent shortage of food. Generations of Somali refugees have been faced with the unimaginable ultimatum of either leaving the camps due to its hostile environment, struggling to seek asylum in countries that have closed their doors to them, or to return to possibly dangerous circumstances in Somalia itself. Eritreans fleeing the country because of severe state-sponsored violence, torture and capital punishment are being returned to the same country they were seeking refuge from. For years these refugees have been making unimaginably difficult journeys crossing/oceans/borders/hostile territories but the attention from media sources has been abysmal. 

To learn more about the plight of Eritrean/Somali refugees 
For a timeline of events leading to the current Syrian refugee situation 


500,000 Refugees, Countless Stories: Welcome to Dadaab

When the idea for a documentary project about the world’s largest refugee camp came about, in early 2011, Dadaab, Kenya was a place that few had heard of. A haven for those fleeing armed conflict, disaster, or persecution, on the border with Somalia, Dadaab was already home to the world’s largest refugee camp – a dubious honor it held by a wide margin. And yet to most, Dadaab simply drew a blank.

All that changed in early 2011, when the looming famine in the Horn of Africa sent refugees flooding into the camp. Soon after, as famine was formally declared in Somalia, international journalists followed. For the first time in years, Dadaab was suddenly in the news: an international symbol for a humanitarian crisis. There were 500,000 refugees in a camp that was built for 90,000.

Keep reading

Ben Rawlence has written a new book about the world’s largest refugee camp – the Dadaab complex in Northern Kenya. It opened in 1991 as a temporary shelter for Somalis fleeing civil war. It’s now home to nearly a half million people, testament to the reluctance of the world’s governments to offer safe harbor to those fleeing war and economic collapse. Rawlence says when tens of thousands of Somalis poured into Dadaab during a 2011 drought, they found “a groaning, filthy, disease-riddled slum heaving with traumatized people with not enough to eat.” Rawlence first went to Dadaab as a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Africa. He’s made seven extended visits, getting to know residents struggling with the limbo of refugee status – unable to return to homes they left, but prevented from making new lives in a host country. Rawlence’s book explores the camp through detailed portraits of nine refugees. Rawlence is the author of an earlier book, Radio Congo, and has written for several publications including the Guardian and the London Review of Books. He spoke to Fresh Air contributor Dave Davies about his new book, City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp.

Author Profiles The ‘Traumatized People’ Living In The World’s Largest Refugee Camp


Young Somali students living in Kenya’s Dadaab camp, the world’s largest refugee camp, sent letters of encouragement to Syrian refugee children who also had to flee their homeland. They offered messages of solidarity, encouragement and advice. In their letters, they emphasized the importance of studying and gaining an education while in the camps. "Our beloved brothers and sisters, go and work hard in school, be the stars and the new presidents of Syria,“ Dahir Mohamed wrote in an inspirational letter.

See more photos and letters via BBC News


Somali Refugees in Dadaab Struggle On

Though the international spotlight has moved on, hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees in the Dadaab camps in northwestern Kenya, the largest refugee camps in the world, continue to struggle amid harsh conditions and pervasive malnutrition, particularly among children. Aid has been too slow in coming, however, and longer-term solutions are nowhere to be found.

Hungr in the News

At Thanksgiving, a Different Kind of Food Problem –The Washington Post

While Americans gather to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, all signs point to a food crisis in West Africa that could eclipse the current epidemic impacting the Horn of Africa. Food for the Hungry is partnering with WFP and the German Society for International Cooperation for the distribution of fuel-efficient stoves to 6,200 Somali families in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp.

Many Somali Famine Victims Afraid to Return Home –AP

Four months after the U.N. declared famine in much of Somalia, some regions are beginning a slow recovery from a disaster that has killed tens of thousands of people. Challiss McDonough, a WFP spokeswoman, said the displaced Somalis “have to feel physically secure and have a livelihood that will allow them to make ends meet” in their home regions.

Food Security Concern as Farmers Switch from Maize to Coffee –IRIN

The switch by many farmers in Kenya’s Rift Valley province from staple cereals to more profitable coffee is likely to increase the country’s dependence on grain imports and possibly affect food security, agricultural experts have warned. Kenya will have to import 2.3 million tonnes of cereal during the 2011-2012 marketing year to meet demand, a year-on-year increase of 37%, according to FAO.
MSF Condemns Attacks On Aid Workers And Calls For Release Of Abducted Colleagues in Somalia

One week ago, a gunman killed Phillipe Havet and Andrias Karel Keiluhuo, two Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) aid workers, while they were implementing emergency assistance projects in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. Three months ago, MSF staff members Montserrat Serra and Blanca Thiebaut were abducted in the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya while providing emergency assistance for the Somali population there.

These attacks on aid workers must be condemned in the strongest terms, MSF said today. They jeopardize life-saving medical projects that are already far from adequate in addressing the vast medical needs of the Somali population.

MSF is confronting the difficult dilemma of working in a context like Somalia, where the needs are not only extremely great, but the risks are exceptionally high for the safety and security of all staff. As we consider this dilemma, MSF is requesting that all people—especially the authorities in control of areas in Somalia where our kidnapped colleagues are being detained—do everything possible to facilitate the safe release of Blanca and Montserrat.

A Thousand A Day
  • Aid is a controversial topic. Food and money sent by donor countries fuel rebel armies and fund corrupt institutions; they become the bone over which, the pack of dogs fight. But what is the alternative when people starve and suffer? How can we neglect fellow humans in crisis? After Rwanda and Ethiopia, have we learnt nothing? While the debate rages on, we visit a microcosm of the situation. A stage on which we meet people from every view and persuasion: the aid worker, the refugee, the journalist, the academic, the UN consultant; a stage that is ever expanding, as people arrive at the rate of one thousand a day.
  • Dadaab is the largest refugee camp in the world. It is situated in the North Eastern Province of Kenya and it is believed that it will home 450,000 people by the end of 2011. The long lasting instability in the area, specifically Somalia, was the initial factor in the camp’s existence, but this has been exacerbated by the recent famine. As the world’s media pore over ‘Drought in the Horn of Africa’, it is being forgotten that Dadaab pre-existed this disaster. The camp is such a long lasting institution in the area that for many children who were born and raised there, it is not a camp but a home. While more money and more refugees flood into the camp, fuelled by the recent appeals, it seems that the camp is being used as a solution instead of a temporary arrangement. It has become the third largest settlement in Kenya after Nairobi and Mombasa, much to the consternation of many Kenyans. Is this truly sustainable and what are the alternatives? Will these Somalis ever be able to go home? By looking at the impact of aid on the ground, which has been the life force of Dadaab, and equally looking at the impact in the long run, it is possible to shed more light on a complex and difficult situation. In this climate of global financial crisis, people have an even greater interest in where their money goes and the good that it does. There is an inherent conflict between wanting to do good but only ultimately supplying short-term solutions, and the ‘tough love’ position that reducing aid seems to imply. By talking to people whose lives are directly involved and also talking to academics and experts in the field, we can start to formulate a humane solution for this very human problem.
Somalian Drought: Worst Humanitarian Disaster

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Tens of thousands are flocking to the U.N. refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya to escape the Somalian drought. There are already 380,000 refugees living there now. The World Food Program estimates that there are still 10 million people in need of aid.

The mortality rates have exceeded emergency ceilings and 50% of people arriving are malnourished.

The camps are full and do not have the resources to provide this huge influx of refugees with food, shelter and medical treatment.

Photo: Family members huddle in a makeshift shelter on the outskirts of the overcrowded Dadaab refugee camps. Kenya © Robin Hammond/Panos Pictures

Kenya: Possible Influx Of New Refugees Will Worsen Already Dire Conditions In Camps

Relocating thousands of Somali refugees in Kenya to overflowing and crisis-ridden camps will threaten their own health and exacerbate already disastrous humanitarian conditions, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today.

Kenyan authorities recently publicly exhorted thousands of Somali refugees living in urban areas of Kenya to uproot and move to refugee camps in Dadaab, a sprawling complex in a vast desert landscape in eastern Kenya. The camps, which together comprise the largest refugee settlement in the world, are already home to close to half a million people, well beyond their original capacity of 90,000. Squalid living conditions and insufficient assistance have been compounded by increasing insecurity in the camps over the last year.

“The assistance provided in Dadaab is already completely overstretched and cannot meet existing needs,” said Dr. Elena Velilla, MSF’s head of mission in Kenya. “In the event of an influx of new arrivals, MSF would not be able to increase its assistance or respond to a new emergency due to ongoing insecurity.”

The possible arrival of thousands of additional refugees will further deteriorate the precarious conditions, already worsened by seasonal rains and an attendant increased risk of epidemics. There are already sporadic cases of cholera and hepatitis E reported throughout the camps.

MSF, one of the main health providers in Dadaab, is operating a 200-bed hospital serving as a referral facility for the camps, but it has struggled to cope with the considerable and growing medical and humanitarian needs.

“Since the beginning of December, heavy rains have flooded the camps, and the already fragile shelter and sanitation conditions have become even more deplorable, with dramatic consequences for the population’s health,” said Velilla.

Over the last month, the number of children admitted to the MSF hospital for severe acute malnutrition has doubled, with approximately 300 children hospitalized. Most of them are also suffering from acute watery diarrhoea or severe respiratory tract infections, attributable to the poor living conditions in the camps.

Since the camps were established more than 20 years ago, emergencies have plagued Dadaab, with floods, nutritional crises, and disease outbreaks occurring regularly. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which administers the camp complex, 11 epidemic outbreaks were reported in 2012.


Can healing happen anywhere? Even in a refugee camp?
We think so. We know so.
In Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp, the largest refugee camp in the world, child mothers participate in a support group where they can seek counseling to overcome the traumas brought on by rape and war.