Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
Monday, September 03, 2012
by Catherine Nyokabi
Fleeing the escalating conflict between the Al Shabaab and Transitional Federal Government forces, Fatumo and her children arrived starved and thirsty at Dadaab refugee camp.
After a long and hazardous journey from Dobley, Somalia, Fatumo Hussein Ali and her 7 children; 4 girls and 3 boys, arrived Liboi by foot. They were taken care of by UNHCR and moved to the refugee camp in Dadaab, where they have been living ever since.
Before Fatumo left Somalia, she experienced a parent worst nightmare, loosing a child. Her 8th soon was killed. She is often thinking about him.
Improved quality of life
For months Fatumo and her children lived in a simple house made of thin wooden sticks, known as a ‘Buul’, until they received shelter support in 2011 through the NRC shelter and sanitation program. The program is funded with money from the 2010 Norwegian Broadcasting Cooperation telethon.
“I am very grateful for NRC support for this new house. It is stronger than my former Buul where I had to be very careful when I cooked, as it could easily catch fire”, she says. Fatumo is so excited about getting a new house that she has decided to decorate it to make it more appealing.
The growth of Dadaab
Dadaab refugee camp hosts the world’s largest refugee population of 454.000. The camp was established in 1991/92 to assist refugees fleeing the civil war in Somalia. Refugees fleeing the on-going conflict still arrive Dadaab and with the steadily growing population over the years, the three original camps that make up the Dadaab complex have been extended to five.
The 2011 famine in Somalia led to an influx of 155,000 new refugees to dadaab, further stretching the limited resources available to assist them. In October 2012, following its military engagement into Somalia, the Kenyan authorities has set a cap on the refugee population in Dadaab and suspended registration of new arrivals.
NRC has been operational in Kenya since 2007 and has been assisting refugees and the host community in Dadaab through education programmes (Youth Education Pack), shelter provision, water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion, food security and distribution. In 2012, NRC extended its refugeeoperations in Kenya to the refugee camp in Kakuma in northern Kenya.