“We were very tired when we got here,” Madahir Boarow Mohamed (16) told The Guardian upon his arrival in Dadaab in August 2011. “There were a lot of problems on the way”. Like tens of thousands of other Somalis, Madahir and his family were forced to leave home and make their way to Dadaab, a Kenyan town near the Somali border, now home to the world’s largest refugee camp.
After a year of fierce fighting since the Syrian Uprising began, thousands of Syrians are now fleeing their homes to seek refuge in neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. For those who manage to escape the horrors of their home country, the problems do not end and instead, new obstacles arise. Entire families suddenly become refugees, often forced to leave home abruptly and without any possessions- consequently left with nothing, having to adapt to an unknown environment.
Refugee camps, which are supposed to provide necessary aid, often fail to do so. Habiba Ibrahim Iftin, another Somali refugee who fled to Dadaab last year, told The Guardian: “We have not been given shelter or enough food”. With new reports warning that Dadaab’s funds are about to run dry, the international community should worry about the general state of refugee camps around the world.
This month fairplanet reported on the situation of ethnic-Kachin refugees, who are not getting necessary relief on either side of the Myanmar-Chinese border. Chinese and Burmese authorities are preventing aid agencies from providing necessary help. The Rohingya conflict in Burma is yet another case that resulted in 300,000 people having to leave their home to seek refuge in Bangladesh, where they are far from welcome and have to live under severe conditions. A very tragic incident occurred a few days ago, when seven people lost their lives in a deadly attack on an UN-protected refugee camp in Ivory Coast.
The Dadaab refugee camp has been in existence for 20 years, roughly since peace, stability and security first broke down in Somalia. Although the camp has seen an influx of millions of dollars in aid money due to the famine in the summer of 2011, it is now short $25m. The plight of refugees around the world is a stark reminder that continued aid is needed to help those most in need of support.
Images: Courtesy of Deeq Mohamed Afrika
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Based in Germany’s capital, freelance journalist Sara Jabril writes about various issues on her fairplanet blog. She studied Politics and Sociology at the Humboldt University Berlin as well as European Social and Political Studies at the University College London.