Dadaab to Somalia: Pushed Back Into Peril

Twenty-five years ago, as conflict in Somalia intensified and drought and a massive food crisis wrought havoc on southern parts of the country, thousands of people began to flee across the border to neighbouring Kenya. They escaped to what today has become the world’s largest refugee camp, currently home to some 277,000 people. On 6 May 2016, the Government of Kenya announced that the Dadaab camps will close, citing economic, security and environment concerns. The decision has caused much fear and anxiety among the refugees, and attracted a mix of international support and outcry. The UNHCR has since agreed to help facilitate the ‘‘voluntary’’ returns, and many donor countries have promised funding for the process. This is despite widespread knowledge that Somalia is still a zone of deadly conflict, and that it lacks basic and essential services such as health and education.

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