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?

The northern parts of Kenya are prone to droughts and flooding that frequently affect the Horn of Africa. The predominantly livestock-keeping communities in these arid and semi-arid parts of the country have been gradually weakened by the droughts that erode their sources of livelihoods rendering the populations more vulnerable. Livestock losses caused by these droughts, the lack of sustained development and the increase in local populations have diminished the assets of many pastoralist communities.

Food insecurity, and poor access to health, water and sanitation services contribute to high levels of malnutrition, which is a major concern in northern Kenya. Coupled with insecurity, and underdevelopment, and with little or no recovery time between the droughts, millions of people have lost their main source of livelihoods, that is, livestock.

Kenya hosts close to 600 000 refugees with over 355 000 residing in the world's largest refugee camp complex, Dadaab refugee camp, in north-east Kenya. Conflict in neighbouring states, South Sudan and Somalia, has led to an influx of asylum seekers in Kakuma and in Dadaab refugee camps. Refugees in Kenya predominantly depend on humanitarian assistance since they are not allowed to work for a living.

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 20/05/2016