UNHCR plans new refugee camp in northern Kenya
TURKANA, Kenya, May 20 (Xinhua) -- The UN refugee agency has announced plans to create additional refugee camp in Kakuma in northern Kenya to accommodate the growing number of refugee population mainly from South Sudan.
Under the expansion plan, an estimated 100 hectares camp would be set up in Kalobeyei location about 80 km from Kenya-Southern Sudan border.
Head of the Kakuma Refugee Camp Abdulahi Abdi told Xinhua ion Sunday that the new camp would accommodate the Southern Sudanese refugees fleeing war strife region in Southern Sudan.
"We are worried about the growing numbers of Sudanese refugees in the camp especially the new arrivals. We have planned to accommodate them in our newly proposed camp as soon as we finish the process to gazette the camp," Abdi said.
Last year, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres had asked the East African nation to allocate more land to ease congestion at Dadaab, one of the world's largest refugee complex.
Aid agencies say the Kenyan authorities had voiced concern that more permanent, iron-roofed houses built to take in more Somalis would spark an every bigger influx of refugees.
"Security has been a big concern for the government. The government is afraid that if they open a new camp or give additional land for the expansion of the refugee camps, the move could open door for more refugees to flood the country," a government official who did not want to be named told Xinhua.
But Abdi said the host Turkana community has welcomed the move by the UNCHR to create a second refuge camp in the area saying it will open up job opportunities, business, provision of health services and water projects in such drought hit region.
Kakuma refugee camp hosts more than 90,000 refugee population from different African countries hit by civil strife and is the second largest refugee camp in Kenya after Daadab.
The officials say since January, about 9000 Southern Sudanese especially from Jonglei state, Darfur in western Sudan and Nuba Mountain have arrived in Kenya through Nadapal border after fleeing their homes.
Kakuma refugee came is dominated by Somali refugee who formed the largest dominant group followed by refugees from South Sudan.
Other minor asylum seekers included Uganda, Rwanda, DRC Congo, Burundi, Ethiopia and North part of Sudan.
Turkana West district administrator, Patrick Muirira said the government and the UNCHR have finalized plans to gazette the new camp.
Muirira said the 2 km camp would accommodate 2,000 Sudanese refugees. The administrator said the government has put stringent security measures to ensure the safety of the refugees at the camp.
"We have established a security camp inside refugee camp to protect the refugees' community from terrorism and other forms of crimes. We want to make sure they are safe while in Kenya," Muirira said.
The administrator said the refugee population at Kakuma refugee camp has increased to 96,000 people since South Sudan and North went to war earlier this year.
The administrator said the department of Immigration and refugee protection desk has lately recorded the highest number of women and children refugee arriving in the camp.
Locals raised fear that the expansion of the refugee camp would impact negatively on the environment.
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