Funding crisis at world's largest refugee camp

By Staff Reporter
AFP Global Edition

Jul 12, 2012 03:26 EDT

Aid agencies warned Thursday that a critical shortage of funds is threatening lives in Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp complex, the world's largest, risking worsening an already volatile security situation.

"Tens of thousands of lives (are) at risk with money for vital services set to run out in two to three months," said the group of eight aid agencies, including CARE, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam and Save the Children.

A $25 million "critical funding shortage" will affect at least 200,000 mainly Somali refugees fleeing war and hunger, they warned.

"Cuts in humanitarian funding are threatening the health, security and livelihoods," the statement read, noting that the giant camp grew by over a third last year, following a mass influx of 160,000 Somalis into Kenya.

While those Somalis were fleeing violence, extreme drought and famine last year, aid workers have warned southern Somalia likely faces a resurgent hunger crisis in coming months due to poor rains and war.

"The current situation of Dadaab is untenable: there are over 465,000 refugees, a volatile security situation and restrictions in the movement of humanitarian workers," the statement added.

Last month, gunmen kidnapped four foreign aid workers in Dadaab, the latest in a string of abductions as well as grenade attacks and bomb explosions in the camp, which lies close to the border with war-torn Somalia.

The aid workers were later freed, but others kidnapped from the camp continue to be held hostage in Somalia.

Source: AFP Global Edition