Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has called on donors and well-wishers to urgently release financial assistance to curb the increasing number of children suffering from severe malnutrition, amid worsening humanitarian conditions in Dagahaley, one of three refugee camps in Dadaab refuge complex.
The international medical humanitarian organization has warned that the incoming influx of refugees can tip the crisis beyond the levels humanitarian organizations can manage if the donors do not urgently intervene.
Humanitarian actors are concerned over expected funding cuts for refugees, which would force them to further downscale operations at a time when needs are rising fast.
MSF records indicate that the global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate among children in Dagahaley increased 45 percent more during mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) screening in December 2022 compared to the previous screening in July same year.
An ongoing cholera outbreak declared at the end of October 2022, has also gripped the refugee camps and communities in Garissa and Wajir counties.
A crippling drought and prolonged conflict continue to displace people in the Horn of Africa in search of food and water.
And inadequate humanitarian response due to scarce funding adds further pressure, deepening wide-scale gaps across sectors including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition, health, and protection.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has predicted a sixth consecutive failed rainy season from March to May 2023, exacerbating the scale and severity of the humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa.
Dadaab currently hosts over 233,000 registered refugees, many of whom have been living in the camps for over three decades (UNHCR, July 2022) and more than 80,000 unregistered refugees. In 2022 alone, over 50,000 people arrived in Dadaab, yet to be officially registered as refugees.
“The UN Refugee Agency (UNHRC) has made appeals to donors to mobilize resources for the re-opening of IFO 2 site, initially closed in 2018, to accommodate up to 80,000 refugees from the congested camps ahead of the approaching dry season when more people are expected to make their way into Dadaab,” MSF says in a statement
In 2022, MSF treated a record 12,007 patients – an overwhelming majority of whom are children – in its pediatric ward and inpatient therapeutic feeding center (ITFC) in Dagahaley, a 33% increase from the preceding year.
Dadaab currently hosts over 233,000 registered refugees, many of whom have been living in the camps for over three decades (UNHCR, July 2022) and more than 80,000 unregistered refugees.
In 2022 alone, over 50,000 people arrived in Dadaab, yet to be officially registered as refugees.
MSF has been delivering healthcare in and around Dadaab for most of the camp’s 30-year existence.
“Our medical services include sexual and reproductive healthcare including emergency obstetrical surgeries, medical and psychological assistance to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, mental health, home-based insulin care and palliative care,” a statement added.