Search

 

Cablegate: Kenya: Current Conditions in Dadaab Refugee Camp

VZCZCXRO9976
RR RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDS #0135/01 0280415
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 280415Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7527
INFO RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0037
RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0002
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ADDIS ABABA 000135

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

DEPARTMENT FOR PRM/AFR, PRM/MCE, AF/E
NAIROBI FOR REF
GENEVA FOR IO MISSIONS
GENEVA FOR RMA
BRUSSELS FOR POL/PRM

E.O. 12958: NA
TAGS: PREF PGOV PREL EAID KE ET SO
SUBJECT: KENYA: CURRENT CONDITIONS IN DADAAB REFUGEE CAMP

REF: NAIROBI 085

Summary
-------
1. (SBU) The three camps that comprise Dadaab refugee camp
currently house over 260,000 refugees, and the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expects the number could increase
in the coming months due to the suspension of food assistance in
al-Shabaab controlled areas of Somalia and increased fighting in
that country. UNHCR and NGOs have also ramped up security in Dadaab
due to security alerts and an increase in reports of armed men in
the camps. UNHCR received permission from the Garissa County
Council (GCC) for an extension of the Ifo camp but is waiting for an
official report by the demarcation team sent by the GCC before
developing a budget or starting to develop the site. Host community
relations and land encroachment by locals remain areas of concern
for UNHCR and other agencies as they plan their activities for 2010.
In 2010, UNHCR selected Windle Trust Kenya to take over the
management of secondary education from CARE, with CARE retaining
responsibility for primary education in Dadaab. UNHCR and NGOs also
implemented a harmonized pay scale for refugee incentive workers to
minimize staff turnover. End Summary.

------------------------
POPULATION AND BUDGET
----------------------
2. (U) The population of Dadaab refugee camp stands at 260,443 as of
24 January, with 2,730 new arrivals (2,581 from Somalia and 149 from
Ethiopia) so far in January. New arrivals cite heightened
insecurity, especially in the Middle and Lower Juba regions,
drought, and food insecurity as the main reasons for fleeing
Somalia. Despite the suspension of World Food Program (WFP) aid in
al-Shabaab controlled areas, there has not been a dramatic increase
in the number of asylum seekers (reftel), although UNHCR anticipates
the arrival trend could increase over the next several months.
UNHCR's current 2010 budget for Dadaab is $24.5 million and is based
on a December 31, 2010 population of 325,000 refugees in the Dadaab
camps. The budget did not include the costs to extend Ifo or any
other camp nor for a large Somali influx due to the suspension of
WFP food in Somalia. UNHCR staff in Dadaab admit that the current
funding level barely covers the basic needs of the existing
population and does not include such activities such as renovations
or construction of classrooms or other infrastructure that is
required for the burgeoning population.

---------
SECURITY
---------
3. (SBU) UNHCR and the other agencies in Dadaab have ramped up
their security posture since late November due to various security
alerts, the fall of Doblei to al-Shabaab, and an increase in the
reports of armed men in the camp. The most recent alert was a
report from local tribal leader(s) that thirty armed men, ten men
per camp with trained drivers, were dispersed in the camp and
seeking to carjack international agency vehicles for use in
Somalia. CARE also reported that, around Christmas, armed men
observing the new food distribution point in Ifo camp were sighted.
In response to these reports, UNHCR requested and received a detail
of armed police located at the entrance to the Dadaab Main Compound
(DMO). Armed administrative police have also started patrolling
inside the DMO at night. UNHCR will be receiving an additional five
vehicles to deploy to the camps to assist with police patrols.

4. (SBU) While UNHCR has not restricted any of its staff movements;
Save the Children/UK (STC/UK), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), and
CARE currently do not allow international staff to leave the DMO to
travel or work in the camps. Other NGOs like Handicap International
and FilmAid have slightly limited their movements or modified their
schedules (i.e. suspension of evening screenings by FilmAid, CARE
delaying the early-morning refueling of generators by one hour).
Only in one case was an international staff member, an Oxfam
employee seconded to NRC, completely removed from Dadaab, and this
was due to a specific threat against Oxfam staff in the neighboring
Wajir district.

-------------
IFO EXTENSION
-------------
5. (SBU) While negotiations with the central government for a
fourth camp remain stalled, UNHCR has received permission for an
extension of Ifo camp in the Lagadera district. The camp extension
can potentially house up to 80,000 refugees and will border Section

ADDIS ABAB 00000135 002 OF 003


N of the existing Ifo camp. UNHCR hopes to divide the 3.5km x 4km
plot into two sections (Ifo 2 and Ifo 3) with a one kilometer green
corridor between the two sections. Each mini section could
potentially house 30-40,000 refugees each with the central green
corridor housing the office and accommodation compounds of the
agencies working in the camp. The immediate aim is to relocate
around 20,000 refugees from the floodplain in the existing Ifo camp
with the remaining space for new arrivals and possibly relocating
some refugees from the overcrowded Dagahaley camp. UNHCR will
develop a budget for the extension and begin developing the site
after the demarcation team from the Garissa Country Council
demarcates the land. As of January 25, the Garissa County Council
had sent a demarcation team to Dadaab but has not officially
informed UNHCR of its results. As reported reftel, UNHCR is
currently unsure of how it will fund the extension but speculates
that it could draw upon the UNHCR Reserve Fund or possibly launch a
separate appeal.


-------------------------------
HOST COMMUNITY AND ENCROACHMENT
-------------------------------
6. (U) Relations with the host community remain problematic though
relations have been slowly improving over the past year.
Encroachment by both refugees and locals erecting shelters and shops
into areas not designated for these activities, especially in the
market areas and green spaces, continues to concern both UNHCR and
the other agencies. WFP has difficulty in bringing trucks to the
food distribution points (FDP) due to the expansion of local
businesses around the FDPs and subsequent constriction of truck
routes. Lutheran World Federation (LWF), in charge of camp
management, also reported that the local councilors continue to sell
plots to both refugees and locals even after a decree by the Garissa
County Council that all unauthorized structures will be dismantled.
Even after the issuance of this decree, LWF heard that the councilor
from Hagadera sold an additional four plots of land. All the NGOs
continue to report difficult encounters with the local authorities
and tribal leaders over their hiring decisions; in many cases not
because they did not hire locals but because they did not hire the
"right" locals (those affiliated or related to councilors or other
local leaders).

---------------------
IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS
---------------------
7. (U) UNHCR continues to review its distribution of implementing
partners by sector or camp in order to better meet minimum
international standards. In 2009, UNHCR divided the health care
activities, previously managed solely by the German Technical
Cooperation (GTZ), between the International Rescue Committee (IRC)
now working in Hagadera, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Dagahaley,
and GTZ in Ifo. For 2010, UNHCR divided the education sector,
previously managed solely by CARE, into two sections. CARE will
continue to manage primary education, but Windle Trust Kenya will
assume responsibility for secondary education at the beginning of
January (septel). In addition, IRC has been designated to take over
gender-based violence (GBV) prevention activities in Hagadera from
CARE in August, and STC/UK is discussing with UNHCR the possibility
of taking over infant and child feeding awareness and education
activities.


8. (U) On January 1, UNHCR and the NGOs also implemented a new
harmonized pay scale for refugee incentive workers in order to
minimize high staff turnover. The new pay schedule is based on
generic job functions and qualifications instead of NGO-specific
position descriptions. The different incentive scales between NGOs
had been a serious constraint to agencies, especially those in the
education sector, as staff constantly switched between NGOs seeking
higher incentives with many NGOs losing staff after they had spent
considerable fund training the staff.

-------
Comment
-------
9. (SBU) UNHCR and NGO staff in Dadaab have very different views of
the current security situation in Dadaab. Some believe that NGOs
overreacted with their decision to restrict international staff to
the DMO. Others cite the ever-increasing number of security alerts
and reports of armed individuals in camp and fear that it will just
be a matter of time before a kidnapping or other serious security
incident occurs. All agencies working in Dadaab do hope that UNHCR

ADDIS ABAB 00000135 003 OF 003


will be able to proceed with the Ifo extension in order to provide
some relief from the seriously overcrowded conditions but stress
that that the extension does not solve the problem -- a fourth camp
is still needed, especially if there is a mass influx of new
arrivals over the coming months.

YATES
6

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

IPPPR: The Independent Panel Calls For Urgent Reform Of Pandemic Prevention And Response Systems

Expert independent panel calls for urgent reform of pandemic prevention and response systems The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is today calling on the global community to end the COVID-19 pandemic and adopt a series of bold and ... More>>

NGO Coalition On Human Rights: Call For A Stop To Police Brutality In Fiji

A viral video has circulated online showing two police officers utilising disproportionate and excessive force in detaining the suspect, an individual half their size. In the video it shows the man’s head being pressed down on the ground, his arms being ... More>>

UN: India’s New COVID-19 Wave Is Spreading Like ‘Wildfire’, Warns UN Children’s Fund

7 May 2021 A new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading like “wildfire” across India, leaving many youngsters destitute, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Friday. In the last 24 hours, India registered 3,915 coronavirus deaths and 414,188 ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Economic Recovery Under Threat Amid Surging COVID Cases And Lagging Vaccination In Poorer Countries

New York, 11 May — While the global growth outlook has improved, led by robust rebound in China and the United States, surging COVID-19 infections and inadequate vaccination progress in many countries threaten a broad-based recovery of the world ... More>>

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>