Thursday, January 26, 2023

Child Malnutrition in Kenya's Refugee Camps

 Dadaab in northern Kenya is one of the world’s largest refugee camps. In September of last year, it was home to more than 233,000 refugees – more than three times the number it was intended to accommodate. The number of arrivals is projected to increase by more than 100,000 by April. Malnutrition among children as surged over the past year.

Médecins Sans Frontières said its health facility in Dagahaley, part of the Dadaab refugee complex, has treated 33% more patients – mainly children – for malnutrition over the past year, while the rate of malnourishment in the camps grew by 45% in the last six months of 2022. 

“We’ve had to put up an extension ward to accommodate these numbers of children,” said Kelly Khabala, MSF’s deputy medical coordinator. 

The influx of new refugees has strained food and water and sanitation resources. MSF warns that the increase could “tip the crisis beyond the levels humanitarian organisations can manage”.

MSF has also raised concerns over rising cholera cases in the camp and across northern Kenya, including Garissa and Wajir. 

Northern Kenya and Somalia have been hard hit by the worst drought to hit east Africa in 40 years. The region is braced for its sixth consecutive failed rainy season this year. Millions are facing hunger and destitution. Humanitarian agencies say they are concerned over how they can meet people’s needs in the face of dwindling refugee funding.

Children go hungry at Kenya refugee camp as malnutrition numbers soar | Humanitarian response | The Guardian

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