Mire is 23 years old and the only home he knows is the small plot in Dagahaley, one of the three refugee camps in Dadaab, northern Kenya. He fl ed Somalia with his mother when he was only six years old, and arrived in Dadaab when he was eight. “Life here is not easy, but it is better than back home” he says. Kenya hosts 303,000 refugees, mainly from Somalia and Sudan, in Dadaab and Kakuma camps. The Dadaab camp was designed for 90,000 people and has become the largest and most congested refugee camp in the world, hosting a staggering 280,000 refugees. The refugee population has been dependent on UN food assistance since 1991. While the repatriation of Sudanese refugees is expected to continue, events in Somalia resulted in 92,000 new asylum seekers between January 2007 and February 2009 and the number is expected to grow.
The EU supports the UN assistance to the refugees in Kenya. In 2009, food rations were provided to 280,000 refugees twice a month. 20,500 undernourished children under fi ve, pregnant and lactating women and other vulnerable people living in the refugee camps were supported with supplementary feeding and hospital feeding. By providing food to close to 40,000 children in camp schools, more children including girls attended school.
The communities hosting the camps are themselves often vulnerable. The EU continued supporting the UN “food for assets” programme which enabled 10,716 people in host communities to build infrastructure for water, agriculture and the environment, increase food security, mitigate negative environmental impacts of the camps and reduce tension with refugees.