European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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At the height of the 2011 Horn of Africa crisis, Dadaab received a huge influx of refugees mainly from Somalia. Currently, the camps are the largest refugee camps in the world. © European Union/ECHO/Daniel Dickinson

What are the needs?

Half of Kenya’s 47 counties have been hit by a drought that is also affecting other countries in the Horn of Africa region, mainly Somalia and Ethiopia. Out of the three million food insecure people in Kenya, 1.1 million are children.

The situation is compounded by a deteriorating security situation in northern Kenya. Several severe attacks have made it difficult for the population to access services. The safety, especially of nonlocal health and education staff, is threatened and humanitarian organisations are having more difficulty reaching the areas with the highest needs.

Kenya hosts close to 500 000 refugees mainly in camps around Dadaab and Kakuma, as well as in Nairobi. Thousands of South Sudanese refugees continue to arrive in Kakuma, joining previous waves of refugees from South Sudan* but also from Somalia and the Great Lakes' region. Kenya’s in-camp policy signifies that refugees have limited opportunities to earn a living or obtain a level of self-reliance.

How are we helping?

The Commission has been providing support to populations affected by drought for many years in the arid and semi arid parts of the country. During emergencies, the European Commission undertakes life-saving programmes that target the most vulnerable segments of the population. Such actions include provision of basic health services, food assistance, and the integration of nutrition activities into the health system.

Communities which are forewarned of drought are better able to prepare appropriate and timely responses. The Commission invests in preparedness actions which include monitoring key indicators such as water availability, animal health and resource-based conflict issues as well as improving systems capable of predicting drought in close collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union to Kenya and its partner, the National Drought Management Authority.

In Kenya, the European Commission's humanitarian assistance also targets refugees mainly from Somalia and South Sudan, as well as the host populations. The Commission has provided substantial funding over a number of years for the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps. The funds mainly support food aid, the building of latrines, the rehabilitation of water supply systems and primary health care activities.

The European Commission also operates a humanitarian air service, ECHO Flight, in northern Kenya to facilitate access to remote areas by humanitarian partners and other agencies.

Last updated
Last updated 06/04/2017