International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Tens of thousands of lives at risk as Dadaab refugee camp faces funding shortage

The International Rescue Committee and six other international aid organizations are warning that a critical shortage of funds is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in Kenya's Dabaab refugee camp, the world’s largest.

Money for vital services is set to run out in two to three months, the organizations said in a July 12 statement. A $25 million "critical funding shortage" will affect at least 200,000 refugees, including many Somalis who have fled war and hunger in their homeland. Cuts in humanitarian funding are threatening health, security and livelihoods, the statement said, noting that the giant camp grew by over a third last year, following an influx of 160,000 Somalis into Kenya.

“Humanitarian workers in Dadaab have been working to full capacity under extremely difficult circumstances for the past year. We are committed to providing quality health care here, and supporting the protection of women and girls, but because of the funding shortfall it is likely that some basic services will be cut, leaving refugees more vulnerable,” said Kellie Leeson, IRC deputy regional director.

The aid agencies called on the international community to rethink its approach to long-term solutions for the camp, and warned that the gaps in aid could worsen insecurity in the region. The agencies signing the statement in addition to the IRC are: CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Danish Refugee Council, Lutheran World Federation, Oxfam, and Terre des Hommes.

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