Africa

Somalis seeking refuge in Kenya: Your stories

Somali refugees. Pic: Cat Carter/Save the Children
Image caption Ali's family is among the thousands of refugee families that headed to Dadaab

A combination of war and drought in Somalia has led to an unprecedented number of people choosing to flee across the border into Kenya, the charity Save the Children has said.

The aid agency has reported that about 1,300 people - at least 800 of them children - are arriving at the Dadaab refugee camp every day.

BBC website readers from the region have described the dire state of the refugees.

Abdullahi Sigat, Libio, Kenya

I am in a village called Kulan, the location of which is near the border of Somalia and Kenya.

Every day, almost 200 people pass here from Somalia and they are in a horrendous state.

You look at their faces and you know they have suffered.

I have tried to speaking to them but I wish there was more I could do to help.

I spoke to a mother of seven children who told me she had to slaughter the donkey they were using as transport. She said this was the only way she could feed her children.

It is a shocking sight to see a woman left with no other means and holding on so tightly to these lumps of meat.

I spoke to another woman who told me she had left her three-year-old daughter behind on the road after she was unable to carry her.

She felt she had no option but to do that.

These people are starving but even when they get to the camps, they tell me that they have no idea about what will happen or whether they will survive.

Mohamed Yussuf Hassan, Dadaab, Kenya

I am a UNHCR interpreter at the registration site in the Dadaab region.

There is disaster and catastrophe here in Dadaab's refugee camps.

People come in big numbers every day and they are barefoot, malnourished and desperate.

They walk thousands of kilometres and are so very tired by the time they reach the camps.

I speak to the refugees and sometimes their stories are so harrowing that I am left extremely tearful and want to cry.

The other day I met some parents and they told me they left some of their children behind on the road because they could no longer walk.

When I asked why they did this, they told me they wanted to save at least some of their family members, because if they had to wait, then all of them would have starved and died together.

How can I respond to something like this?

I spoke to another man who told me that his wife - who was nine-months pregnant - went into labour while they were travelling to the camp.

They had no medical supplies and both his wife and the baby died shortly afterwards.

When they arrive here we have to try to feed them with the limited supplies that we have. We give them medicine too and try to help them, but the task is difficult.

More comments

This is a shocking reality. It is very unfortunate to watch our children end up dying for hunger and thirst every day as are our women and elderly, while our teenagers and youth are in queues to join conflicting groups in the country. These groups have lost their sense of humanity and enjoy using the hopelessness of the country to make more profit for themselves. I strongly urge the youth and the educated and those who still have hope to join their efforts toward saving this nation. Mohamed Kheyre, Mogadishu, Somalia

The situation in Somalia needs to be solved as soon as possible. Kenyans are bearing the brunt of an unstable Somalia. The aid offered to the Somalis in Dadaab and other refugee camps is not enough. They end up relying on Kenya's meagre resources, yet we are barely capable of taking care of our own hungry citizens. Instead of being grateful to Kenyans for sheltering them, most are sneaking from the refugee camps, turning to illegal activities and threatening us in our own country. Currently, we have too many illegal Somali immigrants and this is causing a great deal of concern to us. The international community needs to do something about this. Mwangi, Nairobi, Kenya

I live near one of the Dadaab camps called Dagahaley and I think Save the Children have only reported half the problem. People are coming day after day, night after night without a single break. Mothers leave their children on the road when they think they cannot walk because of malnutrition and lack of water. On the other hand, the people do not get any help from the organisations. It is worse when they arrive at the camp. You see them begging on the streets and at the homes of former refugees in order to get some food and shelter. Abdi Jelle, Dadaab, Kenya

I'm not an aid worker but what we are experiencing here is actually getting worse each and every day. The camps are flooded with people who don't know any other place to call home. It's a total humanitarian crisis with little or no medical care nor drugs or food. It's a total disaster. Daniel Wanyaga, Kilgoris, Kenya

I am a medic working with Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) in Dadaab and the situation is pathetic, especially with the new arrivals. Children are malnourished, adults are weak with respiratory infections and skin diseases, women raped by gangs on the way. It's a sorry situation. Mohamed, Garissa, Kenya

It's a real story. Dadaab camps are extremely affected. New arrivals currently wait for more than three to four weeks for registration. They lack all human needs (food, clothing, shelter and medical care) and have severe malnutrition. Begging is the order of the day. The pace for settlement further puts them in serious economic difficulties as they are forced to sell the meagre food rations given after registration to buy a plot from the local community. Pregnant mothers travel more than 2/3km to get water. At times getting water is impossible. I pray the situation will one day change. Jimale Aden in Dadaab, Kenya

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