Some Respite At Last For Hungry Refugees
Published on 25 July 2011

Saruuro carries her disabled daughter to sanctuary in Dadaab (Copyright: WFP/Rose Ogola)

At the reception centres at the camps in Dadaab, newly-arrived Somali refugees  get three-week food rations from WFP to tide them over while they settle themselves.

For more than three weeks, Saruuro Mohamud (51) had to carry Muslimo, her seven-year old, physically-disabled daughter on her back – not an easy task for someone who has had little to eat. Together with her husband, mother-in-law and their six children, she trekked from Somalia to Dadaab in north-eastern Kenya. They were exhausted, hungry and thirsty after the long journey. With their arrival at the reception centre at Dagahaley refugee camp, a glimmer of hope came into their tired eyes.

Saruuro and her family are among the tens of thousands of refugees who have recently thronged to Dadaab from Somalia, escaping conflict and drought. After walking for long distances with little water and food, they arrive in Dadaab in very poor shape, with many of the children malnourished and in ill health.

Dadaab used to receive an average of 10,000 refugees a month but, since the beginning of June, this has changed to 10,000 a week. A majority of them are women and children – the menfolk often stay behind, either to look after homes and belongings or whatever livestock may still be alive.somali refugees walking in a pack to dadaab

To cope with the huge influx, three reception centres were set up in early June at Hagadera, Dagahaley and Ifo camps. It is here that the new arrivals receive emergency assistance after being identified and wrist-banded as refugees (an interim process pending official registration).

WFP is providing them with a 21-day food ration of corn-soya blend (CSB), cereals, pulses, vegetable oil and salt. They also receive non-food items including utensils, blankets and jerrycans for water. Once registered, the new arrivals will be included in the regular food manifest for refugees at the camp.

“Allah hamdullilah (thanks to the Almighty)”, is what Saruuro Mohamud, had to say when her family was issued with their food ration. “As we travelled, we tried to make our small amount of food last but it got finished on the way and we have not eaten for two days”.

Moderately malnourished children and pregnant and nursing mothers are put on supplementary feeding programmes where they receive additional CSB for increased micronutrients and all children aged between 6-24 months receive a fortified, ready-to-use food that addresses micro-nutrient deficiency and promotes growth. Those that are severely malnourished are admitted to hospitals where the caregivers admitted with them receive food from WFP.

WFP Offices
About the author

Rose Ogola

Public Information Officer

Rose Ogola worked as a Public Information Officer for WFP Kenya based in Nairobi.