The World’s Largest Refugee Camp Dadaab

Surrounding the small town of Dadaab, Kenya, is one of the oldest and largest refugee camps in the world, now home more than 332,000 people, mainly from Somalia. (It was originally designed to house just 90,000.) The complex of camps was first established as a temporary solution more than 20 years ago by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), after Somalia descended into a civil war that continues to this day. According to UN estimates, more than 31,000 additional Somalis have arrived in the camps this year alone, as drought and continuing violence between Somali Government forces and Al-Shabaab militants have forced them to seek long-term refuge. To deal with overcrowding, sanitation, and health problems, UNHCR officials were looking to expand the complex by opening a fourth camp, but Kenyan authorities have frozen the plan due to security concerns.

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