August 24, 2006

Somalis face more hardships at Kenya camp: aid agency

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Nearly 140,000 refugees at a camp in
northern Kenya are facing increasing hardships due to cuts in
foreign funding, even as more war-weary Somalis pour into the
settlement, an aid agency said on Thursday.

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, and the U.S.
Agency for International Development have reduced financial
support to Dadaab camp by 20 percent and 23 percent
respectively over the last year, CARE International said in a

It said the move would limit the mostly Somali refugees'
access to water, shelter, sanitation and education as some
30,000 more people are expected to arrive by the end of 2006.

"These cuts have come at a critical time, with renewed
conflict in Somalia between the interim government, warlords
and the Islamic courts," said CARE official Mohammed Qazilbash.

It will be "extremely challenging for agencies to meet the
basic needs of all those seeking refuge," he added.

Many Somalis have abandoned their homeland because of
fighting in south Somalia between Islamist militia and

So far this year, at least 18,000 Somalis have reached
Dadaab, which lies about 100 km (63 miles) south of the border
and dates from the 1991 start of an era of anarchy in Somalia.