Thousands flee Somali drought, overwhelm refugee camps
The United Nations has warned that some 750,000 could die in the current Somali drought, while droves are streaming across the border into neighboring Kenya.
Story from The Takeaway. Listen to audio for full report.
Somalia is no stranger to drought. "Sadly," the BBC's Will Ross says, "they're getting more and more frequent, which some people are putting down to climate change." In the Dadaab refugee camp, across the border in Kenya, Ross reports that nearly 1,000 people are still arriving every day, due to the recent drought.
"What's startling, really," Ross told PRI's The Takeaway, "was that the health workers and the people working at the food distribution areas and doing the child malnutrition work, they were actually saying that the situation is getting worse."
The refugee camp that Ross visited is in a peaceful area of Kenya, he points out. So "it ought to be pretty easy for the aid agencies to get in and do the work." The epicenter of the conflict and the drought is across the border in Somalia. "So it gives you an idea about how bad it must be over the border," he says, "where it's far harder for the aid agencies to reach."
Aid agencies are doing their best to help people in the camps. But Ross reports that "Sometimes that help is delayed because there are such overwhelming numbers of people arriving."
The continuing war and famine could have lasting effects on the reigion, according to Ross. He says, " I'm yet to find anybody who really could convincingly tell me, 'one day I'm going to go back to Somalia.' They all seem to be thinking, 'that's it. We've got to leave the country.'"
"The Takeaway" is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what's ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.