UN refugee agency ‘very worried’ over sanitation in flood-hit Kenyan camps

6 May 2003 – Although flood waters have begun receding in the Dadaab refugee camp complex in north-eastern Kenya, where more than 3,000 refugees have been left homeless, the United Nations refugee agency said today it remained “very worried” about sanitation and the possible spread of water-borne diseases.

Large sections of the two most affected camps – Ifo and Dagahaley, which together host more than 80,000 refugees, mainly from Somalia – are still under water, impeding access within and around them, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.

“Pit latrines have collapsed while some are overflowing,” UNHCR declared. “There is stagnant water everywhere. Our health partner at the camp, MSF-Belgium (the non-governmental organization, Médecins Sans Frontières), is prepared to handle an increased number of consultations for various illnesses.”

On Sunday, UNHCR airlifted some 12,000 litres of much-needed fuel from Garissa, the northeastern provincial capital, as parts of the road linking Garissa and Dadaab remained impassable. The fuel supplies will cover the camps' needs for the next six to eight days for vehicles as well as to power generators in offices, hospitals and clinics and to run water pumps throughout the three-camp complex of 130,000.

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