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MSF warns of increased arrivals in Dabaab Somali refugee camps in Kenya

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Tuesday October 25, 2022
By Daniel Stewart 

Archive - Somalis in refugee camps in Dabaab, Kenya - CRUZ ROJA/EUROPA PRESS

Doctors Without Borders warned Monday of a significant increase in arrivals in Somali refugee camps in Dabaab, Kenya, and called for an international response to the need for cholera and measles vaccines.

"Every week hundreds of people arrive from Somalia to the Dabaab refugee camp in Kenya," the NGO said in a statement. The camp is already home to more than 233,000 refugees, thousands of whom arrived this year.

MSF warns of the "high risk of disease outbreaks" due to overcrowding. It has therefore appealed to organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for an "urgent response" in the form of vaccination campaigns.

Somalis are fleeing drought, violence and the unending conflict between the Islamist insurgency and the internationally recognized authorities, mostly from the south of the country, where there have been outbreaks of infectious diseases. Arrivals from Somalia to Dagahaley have doubled between August and September alone.

"Vaccination coverage is low in Somalia and there is no system in place to receive and diagnose new arrivals in Kenya, so diseases can spread quickly (...), particularly among children," said MSF's deputy program director for Kenya, Arián Guadarrama.

"Even a few isolated cases of measles or cholera can cause a huge outbreak in crowded camps where there is hardly any clean water, sewage or hygiene," he added.

Last week MSF detected three cases of measles and two suspected cases of cholera in Dagahaley, one of three refugee camps in the Dabaab region.


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