U.N. expands refugee camp in Kenya as South Sudan conflict rages.
June 29, 2015 UN Refugee agency has reported that Kakuma camp in northern Kenya is expanding by nearly a half. This is to be able to accommodate refugees fleeing nearby South Sudan as hopes for peace in the world’s newest nation remain slim.
The arrival of about 44,000 South Sudanese refugees since late 2013, when fighting broke out, has proved too much for the camp to handle. With the planned expansion, the facility will be able to accommodate up to 80,000 more.
Officials say the extra space will help ease congestion as well as make room for new arrivals U.N.refugee agency’s Kenya representative Raouf Mazou, had some things to say:
“The four Kakuma camps that we have host about 188,000 persons and the camp probably has the capacity of 100,000 or 140,000 or so, so there is a need to decongest the camp, We tend to develop camps as if they were to close after a year or two years and our assistance model is that of providing relief assistance to people; food healthcare education and the rest, for as long as they are there. The problem we are having is that the average length of a refugee situation right now around the world is 17 years,”
In 2005, a peace deal paved the way for South Sudan‘s 2011 independence and the United Nations launched a repatriation program. By 2008, officials contemplated the camp’s closure, but the crisis involving long-time rivals Kiir and Machar has led to fierce fighting along ethnic lines.
Andrew Riek, a twenty four-year-old man lived in Kakuma for a decade before returning home in 2011, he returned to the camp in 2013 and has no plans of going back again.
“If there is peace in South Sudan, I’d still be here more years, because… I don’t know maybe, it happened that there was peace in South Sudan but recently something happened. The same thing that happened last year may also happen,”
“I am very worried about going back to South Sudan, because I may be killed, yeah, I may be killed,” he added.