Somali Refugee Camp in Kenya The Biggest In the World


November 8th 2011: Question In The Lords about Somali Refugees In Kenya

Lord Alton of Liverpool: My Lords, has the Minister seen the reports of 4 November from the United Nations that the number of Somali refugees fleeing war and drought to the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya has increased to a staggering 463,000 people, making it the largest refugee camp in the world? Catastrophically, the numbers are growing daily. Has he also seen the reports from Médecins Sans Frontières that it can take up to 40 days for a food card to be issued to refugees, including children, which is leading to levels of malnutrition and illness growing considerably in the camp?

Lord Howell of Guildford: I have seen some but not all of the reports. We have also seen reports that there appears to be pressure to reject refugees and to run down the numbers in that location. We have urged the Kenyan authorities to continue allowing refugees in from Somalia. We recognise Kenya’s huge generosity in hosting refugees, which it has done over many years, and we will continue to support these efforts in the coming months. We certainly urge Kenya not to forcibly return Somali refugees over the border. There are obviously major aspects of administration and provision, to which the noble Lord rightly alluded. We will continue to help with what is an enormous imposition and burden on Kenya at this difficult time.