Sunday, 4 September 2011

Lost town of Liboi Kenya's border with Somalia

Week 2

Following up on last weeks post, I decided take a trip to the Somali, Kenyan Border near the town of Liboi. Then continued focusing on different ethnic comunities living in IFO refugee camp and the town of Liboi. 

Drought stricken land is filled with carcass bones near the border between Somalia and Kenya. Liboi town is the first border crossing point for Somali refugees traveling to Dadaab. A newly introduced bus service, is implemented to transport refugees from the border to Dadaab Refugee Camp. After walking for 20 days, families wait for busses in the scorching heat with no food over night. 

As drought, famine and war ravage the Horn of Africa, nearly 29,000 children aged below five have already died. Even as it battles the worst drought in 60 years, Somalia can barely lick the wounds inflicted by civil strife, which has plagued the beleaguered nation for two decades. Impoverished refugees fleeing the country to aid camps in Kenya have to face the wrath of Al Qaeda-backed Shebab militia on the poorly policed border between the countries. 

The crisis, which the United Nations declared as more serious than the 1984 Ethiopia famine that claimed nearly a million lives, now threatens to spread to Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. Dadaab hosts people that have fled various conflicts in the larger Eastern Africa region. Most have come as a consequence of the civil war in southern Somalia, including both Somalis and members of Somalia's various ethnic minority groups such as the Bantu.

My trip takes a detour via the city of Adis Ababa, Ethoipia where I will be traveling to Dolo Ado. Dolo Ado is situated on the Somali, Ethopian border.  The first two camps, Bokolmanyo and Malkadida, were opened in 2009 and 2010 to host Somalis fleeing the conflict in the south central region of Somalia. Kobe and Hilaweyn have been established more recently to cope with the extraordinary influx of Somali refugees caused by the drought and exacerbated by the ongoing civil war.

In July, an average of 1900 people were reaching Dolo Ado on a daily basis. The camps now host about 121,000 people, the majority of whom (80,000) have arrived in 2011 as a result of two consecutive failed rainy seasons that have caused one of the worse droughts since the early 1950s.  

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