Where Will They Go?

November 23, 2016

Time is ticking on the closure of Dadaab -- the-25-year-old refugee camp in Kenya. About 300,000 people call this camp home, but officials say, 'it's time to go'.  Most of the refugees are from Somalia -- escaping violence of a civil war and agricultural droughts.


The camp has been supported primarily by humanitarian programs, NGOs and the United Nations, but the dearth of food and funding are forcing closure by the end of this November.


To me, the complexities of Dadaab is microcosm of our world and how humanity may be measured. 


United Nations in conjunction with the Kenyan government, can be viewed as both the enforcer and enabler to aid in Dadaab's closure. Critics of the Kenya and the UN's repatriation policies argue that taking people from the camp is "inhumane" and contrary of the purpose of such organizations.


So, if Dadaab will soon be emptied, where will the people go?


To many, Somalia is still viewed as unsafe and not secure. Returnees have been promised a return package with cash incentive to non-existent homes and communities. Realistically, it's about $150-$200. This stipend is given to assist with resettlement and integration according to a UNHCR official in Kenya. But, famines and droughts are ongoing in Somalia. The influx of people is taxing and overwhelming for any one program or country.


Is Dadaab safe? More sources indicated that Dadaab is a recruitment center for militant group, Al-Shabaab, a branch of Al Qaeda. However, 80 percent of the refugees surveyed do not wish to leave. The camp provides shelter, health care and educational opportunities, but food supplies are diminishing fast.


Nobody seems to have an answer and only more questions are unearthed each passing day.


Tick tock, tick tock.


The world watches and wonders -- what will happen?  


Resources for this article:


Craig, J., & Patinkin, J. (2016, October 18). Where Do Somali Refugees Go When Kenya Shuts Down Camp? Retrieved November 2, 2016, from http://www.voanews.com/a/somali-refugees-kenya-camp/3556034.html


Doctors Without Borders, Press Staff  (2016, October 13).Dadaab, Kenya: Return of Refugees to Somalia is ‘Inhumane and Irresponsible’. Retrieved October 31, 2016, from http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/dadaab-kenya-return-refugees-somalia-‘inhumane-and-irresponsible’


Hussein, A. (2015, May 13). Why I call Dadaab home. Retrieved November 2, 2016, from http://innovation.unhcr.org/why-i-call-dadaab-home/http://innovation.unhcr.org/why-i-call-dadaab-home/ Original blogpost, Sahan Journal (2015, April 15).


Yusuf, M. (2016, July 25). Kenyans Support Dadaab Camp Closure, Return of its Troops. Retrieved November 2, 2016, from http://www.voanews.com/a/kenyans-support-dadaab-camp-closure-return-of-troops/3434188.html


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