Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dadaab refugee camps: 20 years of living in crisis

Dadaab refugee camp : Somali Refugees Live Desperate Existence In Camps In Neighboring Kenya
A security officer tries to keep order in Dadaab, Kenya.  Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Twenty years after the first Somali refugees fled the crisis that ousted President Siad Barre, thousands of people continue to pour across the border from Somalia into north-eastern Kenya into the largest refugee complex in the world.
Today, the three refugee camps – Dagahale, Ifo and Hagadera – that make up the overcrowded and chronically underfunded Dadaab complex are home to more than 300,000 people and three generations of refugees.
Mohamad Ali was one of the first to arrive from Somalia when civil war broke out in 1991. He didn't expect to stay long, but in 20 years he hasn't set foot outside the complex.
Refugees aren't allowed to leave the camps unless they receive special movement passes. If caught without a pass, they risk arrest, detention or expulsion. Special buses can be taken between each of the complex's three camps, which are separated from one another by a few kilometres of dust and dry heat.
This is the second time Ali has been made a refugee. Ethnically Somali, he was driven out of his home in Ethiopia to Somalia by the war between the two countries in 1977.
He is now 79 years old, and calls Dadaab his home. It's Kenya's fourth-largest city, although no Kenyan lives there, he says.
The camps were originally designed to house 90,000 people, but with the ongoing crisis in Somalia, official estimates suggest that around 5,000 new refugees arrive each month. Richard Floyer-Acland, the UNHCR representative in Dadaab, put the number closer to 9,000.
After Afghans and Palestinians, Somalis constitute the world's third-largest refugee population.
Three years ago, the UN refugee agency declared the Dadaab complex full, and it continues to lobby Kenyan authorities for access to new land to extend it. For now, new arrivals set up camp where they can, gathering on the outskirts of the complex.
Floyer-Acland says plots ran out in August 2008. New arrivals now have to double up, with two families per plot, or seek land not officially cleared for settlement. More than 18,000 people have settled on the edges of the camps, he says, on land that technically belongs to local communities.
But while the extension of the complex could help solve the problem of physical space, it would leave the hardest questions unanswered: how long can a refugee camp exist, and for how many generations?
"Opening another warehouse to store more people is no solution to our plight. What we need is a lasting political solution for Somalia, and it's time the world focused efforts and resources to achieve this," says Ali.
For Elizabeth Campbell, of Refugees International, a US-based advocacy group, Dadaab represents a double failure – a failure of the international community to help bring stability to Somalia and to support the hundreds of thousands who have fled the crisis.
"Though Somalis constitute the largest protracted and unfolding refugee crisis, they are not a priority for anyone and do not garner the political attention necessary to change the situation," says Campbell. "There's no sense of urgency. Instead, there's a sense that Somalia's a disaster and that's it. The political imperative is counterterrorism, and nobody seems to care about an entire generation that has known nothing but war."
Two decades after the first refugees settled in and around Dadaab, the camps continue to operate on an emergency basis.
Part of the problem is that the Dadaab camps and the hundreds of thousands of refugees they house are caught in the middle of a complex institutional problem: when should emergency relief end and development assistance begin? For those in the field, this is sometimes called the "relief-to-development" gap.
"When people think about humanitarian issues, they think about Japan. There's a disaster, but then after a period of time, it comes to an end," says Campbell.
But what happens to those caught in crises that persist for decades? Camps can be extremely efficient in delivering aid quickly after emergencies, but they fail to mobilise the resources required for medium- and long-term development.
A 2010 report from Refugees International on the challenges of long-term investment in the Kenyan refugee camps noted that: "Half of the year UNHCR is scrambling to provide enough water to refugees, and the other half of the year UNHCR is responding to the raging floods that emerge from the rainy season."
According to Campbell "the humanitarian funding structure is simply not set up to deal with people who have been living in crisis for 20 years"."At the same time, the entire development industry is simply not responsive to what they consider a humanitarian situation."
This month, Unesco's Global Monitoring Report noted that only 2% of the world's humanitarian assistance spending goes towards education.
Last year, the UNHCR received only 20% of the $30m it needs to educate refugee children.

Protracted problem

But the situation in Dadaab also raises questions about the response of host governments to protracted refugee settlements.
In April last year, 162,000 Burundian refugees become Tanzanian citizens, the result of an internationally brokered solution to a decades-old crisis.
Since 1972, hundreds of thousands of Burundian refugees had made western Tanzania their home, and were repeatedly denied access to citizenship. But when the US and Canada agreed to resettle large numbers of refugees, and tens of thousands more decided to return to Burundi, the Tanzanian government agreed to grant citizenship to those who could not or would not leave.
Though such a solution could work in Kenya, says Floyer-Acland, "at the moment there is no sign that the Kenyan government is thinking about local integration".
More than $12m of donor funding had been committed for the extension of the Dadaab camps, to provide space for 80,000 refugees and relieve overcrowding in the complex. But Floyer-Acland says the Kenyan government told the UNHCR to stop construction in January.
The security ministry, says Floyer-Acland, is loath to see too much development in terms of infrastructure and improved conditions, for fear this might encourage Dadaab's refugees to stay in the country.
Though Dadaab is exceptional because it is the largest refugee complex in the world, and still growing, most of the world's refugees now live in such protracted, long-term, camps.
The global number of refugees has been in steady decline in recent years, but a growing percentage of asylum seekers are spending more and more time in exile, far from the international spotlight that accompanies the early days of a humanitarian crisis.
For Campbell, Dadaab is "a glaring example of the failure to provide development funding in protracted refugee situations",            

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Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

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