International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Inside the world’s largest refugee complex

Dadaab is a sprawling complex comprising five refugee camps in northeastern Kenya: Dagahaley, Ifo, and Hagadera (where the International Rescue Committee works) — plus two new camps, Kambioos and Ifo Extension. The first camp was established in 1991 following the outbreak of war in Somalia. Despite the official closure of the Kenya-Somalia border in January 2007, more than 200,000 refugees have arrived over the last four years. 

By January 2011, the monthly arrival rate had increased to over 9,000, only to triple in June 2011 as the extended drought desiccated the Horn and East Africa. Currently, the registered population of Dadaab is close to 430,000 people – making it the world’s largest refugee complex. 
Refugees arriving in Dadaab undergo basic health and vulnerability screenings and are provided with essential supplies. To ease overcrowding many refugees are being relocated to Kambioos or Ifo Extension. 
Recently, the IRC started providing health care in Kambioos, setting up a clinic in temporary tents.  Inside the clinic is a women’s center where we provide information and support to refugees who are most vulnerable to gender-based violence, with referrals for clinical care of sexual-assault survivors made to the IRC support center in Hagadera.
Read about one IRC aid worker’s day ensuring that Somali refugees in Dadaab receive the care they need.

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