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Government Issues UNHCR 14-Days Deadline To Close Kakuma And Dadaab Refugee Camps

Shadrack Olaka

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The Kenyan government has given UNHCR a 14 days ultimatum to have a way forward on the immediate closure of Dadaab and the Kakuma refugee camps.

The CS for Interior Dr Fred Matiang’i, issued the government directive on Wednesday to the UNHCR representative in Kenya Fathiaa Abdalla stating that there is no more room for further negotiations.

The CS was in the company of his PS Karanja Kibicho and the chief Administrative Secretary Hussein Dado.

The Dadaab Refugee camp which is located in the semi-arid town of Garissa County, is among the largest and most complex camps in the world.

The first camp to be established there was in 1991.

The refugee population exploded in the year 2010 due to food shortage which resulted from the harsh conditions in the Somali environment, where most of the population came from.

According to the UN, by 31st of March, 2019, the camp was hosting a population of 210,556 refugees, which 202,381 of them were from Somalia and 56 per cent of it being children.

Asthe years went on, there has been fast overcrowding which has lead to the refugees spilling over into the land beyond the camp’s official boundaries.

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In the year 2019, government declared to shut down the camp even as refugees continued to shun the voluntary repatriation programme started in 2014. This was because of suspicions that the camps housing Al-Shabaab terrorists were continuing to grow.

The Kakuma Camp is located in Turkana County and is also one among the largest refugee camps in the world.

This camp was started in the year 1992 and is jointly managed by the KDRA and UNHCR.

It has changed from being a place of temporary asylum to a developed place, having its own market place. Some of the refugees run businesses hoping to become self-reliant.

The camp is hosts more than 194,000 refugees.

According to UN, most of these refugees ran from the civil war in their own countries.

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