Refuged or Not?

The largest refugee camp in the world, Dadaab in Kenya, has attracted the international attention only this year. The catastrophical living conditions in the camp have been existing for years though.

The refugee camp close to the border to Somalia has been built in the 1990ies and been growing in numbers ever since. The idea of “full” does not apply to a refugee camp. Those people must live somewhere. With monthly about 10’000 people arriving in 2011, the people must now settle outside the camp and build their own huts. In June and July the numbers rose even further. “Now, around 440,000 people live in this camp built for 90,000.”

Find out more in the photo essay by the Time magazine in order to imagine how it is to be living in Dadaab. Many of the refugees say it is not much better than the war-driven Somalia they have left behind, still they do not have a home nor enough food.

The Somali war is often called as reason for what is happening at the Horn of Africa. The international community has nevertheless a great deal of responsability as well. “A counterproductive international intervention has helped create the conditions for the crisis, and is now impeding the response. Over the same period, globalized economic policies have opened the region to agricultural markets while stifling subsistence agriculture—a larger trend underlying the famine that has received little honest discussion.” Check out this article in The Nation to find out more about this topic and the relationship to the international fight against terrorism.

Even when help is arriving in the camps, it is still in danger. It is believed, that up to half of the food aid which is brough in by the United Nations and other organisations are stolen and then sold. “And considering that 12 million Somalis are in desperate need of aid, the WFP can’t afford to lose any of its supplies to theft, no matter the scale.”

And as Bénin singer Petit Miguelito says in his song Refugie: “Nobody is born a refugee, you become one”… but now there are people who are born in refugee camps. How can that be a reality?

One thought on “Refuged or Not?

  1. Pingback: Forgotten People | Kosmos 9

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