Kenya to Reopen Unused Refugee Camp in Dadaab

Posted July 15th, 2011 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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Kenya has agreed to reopen an unused refugee camp in Dadaab, as starving Somalis affected by a severe drought pour in from across the border.

The announcement is drawing praise from humanitarian groups, who warned on Friday that still more aid and camp space will be needed to handle the rapidly growing crisis.

Aid groups say the population at the massive Dadaab refugee complex has swelled to nearly 400,000, with some 60,000 people now staying outside the camp grounds.

It is unclear when the Ifo II camp will reopen. But an Oxfam spokesman told VOA on Friday that operations should begin within 10 days.

The Kenyan government has expressed concern about the security risks of expanding the camp settlement and pressed for new refugee housing to be built within Somalia.

The Horn of Africa is experiencing its worst drought in six decades, and thousands of Somalis are fleeing to camps each week in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.