Recent media reports put the figures in Dadaab refugee camp at approximately 350,000. The current influx of 1800 daily for a camp originally designed to accommodate only 90,000 people is worrying. Most of these refugees who are from Somalia are said to be fleeing ongoing droughts and harsh economic conditions.
Dadaab refugee camp is obviously overwhelmed by this numbers and there may soon be a humanitarian disaster if this trend persists. Due to this reason, the government needs to hasten the re-opening of the new Ifo II camp in Dadaab if the looming disaster has to be contained.
Revelations by the minister for immigration and registration of persons Otieno Kajwang that the provincial administration is opposed to the entering of more Somali refugees into Kenya are shocking. Host communities in Dadaab have for a long time been receptive and coexisted well with refugees even with scarce resources. It therefore needs not to be an issue now. After all, turning away wounded and malnourished refugees at the boarder points cannot be an option especially because most of them are women and children.
The government will therefore have to put its act in order and ensure that the new camp is opened as quickly as possible. Somalia having been rated as the most disastrous country in the world, the least we can do as a country is to host its suffering citizens fleeing disaster.