Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

Increased population in Kakuma camp

Posted in News Updates by KANERE on July 23, 2012

An influx of new arrivals from Sudan, South Sudan, Great Lakes and other countries and for the first time an Iranian (more…)

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Posted in News Updates by KANERE on July 23, 2012

The heavy downpour in the months of April and May has led to seven people drowning (more…)

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Road repair in Kakuma

Posted in Humanitarian Services, News Updates by KANERE on July 23, 2012

The main road that connects the Humanitarian premises and the refugee camp settlement is currently under repair. (more…)

Camp Planning and New Address System

Posted in Humanitarian Services, News Updates by KANERE on April 16, 2012

Refugee shelters destroyed to pave way to new settlement structure and blocking system.

The Kakuma refugee camp is currently under the new camp address and blocking system that falls under address level 2 according to the camp master plan. 2011 has been a busy year for the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) in regard to site planning and layout by demarcating plots for putting up new muddy, brick houses in areas abandoned by the Sudanese during repatriation. At the same time, refugee-owned shelters and shops have been demolished alongside the main road of the Camp. This has led to remarkable refugee business loss, estimated in the hundreds of thousands Kenyan Shillings.

In conjunction with the Kenyan Government Dept. for Refugee Affairs (DRA), the camp governing body has embraced the benefits of a well-planned camp layout. The year 2011 marked the active establishment and maintenance of plot recording, plot assignment and plot transfer systems. The Governing body also believes that the new address will enhance emergency response, tracing and accessibility.

Previously the camp was characterized by the administration structure and naming of groups and communities was based on nationality, tribe and clan affiliations.  The move to change from the old camp address system known as Zones and Groups is welcomed by refugees.

With the new address, area of the camp known as Kakuma 1, 2 and 3 have been further sub-divided into zones and blocks. The block is the smallest refugee settlement unit and is comprised of mixed nationalities.  The block has a population of between 500 – 1,000 individuals who reside in houses. Refugees said the new address is easy and much clearer for purposes of transmitting communications in camps like Kakuma. It is expected that with this new camp address service delivery will be faster. The physical development and settlement reflects the residential areas, and communal and social spaces and amenities.  There are road reserves with the intention of streamlining the new settlement structure in the camps by redesigning settlement areas with sequential naming system.

However; some refugees who run businesses showed mixed feelings about the new planning process as many of them felt that this process constituted a violation. Some have told the KANERE team that they have rejected the move on decongestion despite certain areas encroaching on public roads. These refugees claim that the concerned parties have not engaged in sufficient sensitizations and information sharing in the community; rather issuing order of destruction summarily. “We should be consulted. We are human beings, what good do you think you do for refugees when we don’t see you doing it the right way?” asked a refugee shop owner at the Kakuma 1 market.

“No compensation! No consultations!” a Rwandan shop holder added. “Refugees spend a lot of years and money establishing their small shops like this, but here comes NCCK orders to destroy our shops and I wonder whether refugees have any rights to own property?” he asked.

This was a commonly shared sentiment for most refugees who talked to the journalist. On address level 2, the camp has a total of 8 zones and 94 blocks that have few posts of solar lights and sign boards. The camp residents have lost hope of seeing their street lighting. A staff member who did not want to be named confirmed to KANERE that the Environmental Development Project (EDP) won’t continue any more.

Many refugees have lived in the Camp for more than eighteen years and have come up with innovative way to provide for their family non-food items that they do not receive from agencies by establishing small shops. This is critical in terms of clothing, entertainment and sometimes food especially green vegetables and meat. ‘‘We would like to have new planning with new feeding options’’ a community leader said. “I think WFP (World Food Programme) can distribute money to refugees to avoid causing us stress,” she concluded.

In December 2010 the UN High Commissioner for Refugee in partnership with the Government Department for Refugee Affairs at Kakuma started a refugee verification exercise that aimed to count all refugees in Kakuma to issue them identification papers.

The move came after the passage of the Refugee Act of 2006 in Kenya. Refugees at Kakuma positively welcome the verification process and showing appreciation for this act of recognition on the part of the Kenyan Government that surpassed the UNHCR papers and food token cards.

The exercise is conducted few years after Sudanese refugees started their repatriation with the camp population still doubling in the last eight months to 84,000 as reported by UNHCR figures released during the Food Advisory Committee (FAC) meetings. The Kakuma camp population is already high and there are always problems with water, shelter, and firewood distribution. The government has given new land at Kalobei Village about 30km away from Kakuma to settle new arrivals with the hope that the plan will decongest the Daadab camp and relocate some of the Kakuma refugees.

Collapsed Shelter Kills Infant, Injures Another

Posted in Health, Humanitarian Services, News Updates by KANERE on April 16, 2012

A decrepit refugee shelter in Kakuma 1 collapsed suddenly after the weakened brick layers fell apart.

The house, which is located in Kakuma 1, Zone 3, Block 9, suddenly collapsed causing serious injuries to two young babies who were in the house. The incident happened on the 7th of December, 2011 at 14:30Hrs. The UNHCR and National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) were implementing a refugee shelter programme at Kakuma.

The shelters of many refugees are in bad conditions and will require urgent intervention as shelters were not made out of durable materials, requiring annual review and assessment for better housing. Refugees have been asking several questions in regard to shelter problems in the camp. “Why shouldn’t refugees be built durable shelters given that the camps have existed for decades?” asked a shelter committee member in Kakuma 1. The current shelters use temporary bricks that can easily be washed away in a single heavy downpour and flooding.

The house that measured 3x4M collapsed from behind inwards while a nine-month old baby was enjoying her sleep away from the burning sun of Turkana. The mother was outside the house washing clothes and utensils when the house slowly came down to the ground. She stated in the interview with KANERE, that she had just breastfed her younger daughter when she started falling asleep moments before the brick walls fell apart and collapsed. Another baby girl aged four and a half years was also in the house when the thatch roofed house of muddy mould bricks wall fell down. Both babies suffered several injuries while the nine-month old suffered more severe injuries and some suffocation from the bricks.

The two babies were rushed to the refugee hospital with their mother, and nine-month old was urgently referred to Kakuma Mission Hospital where treatment was provided. As the injuries sustained by the baby girl were too pervasive, she died at 22:00Hrs of the same day under treatment at Kakuma Mission hospital. The body of the child was released to the family for burial on the 8th December 2011 at the Kakuma 2 grave yard.

The family was profoundly distraught by the incident. “I had no control, I breastfed my baby before the house collapsed. The quick sleep overtook the baby and her elder sister who was also in the house due to the hot sun outside. I was frightened by the sudden collapse,” said the mother of late Niyomuremyi Blandine

In response to the incident, a few days later the shelter and filed units visited the scene. The family of the victim was provided with bricks for wall construction and roofing materials were given after a week; however the head of the family still complains that the doors of the house have still not been fixed when interviewed by KANERE.

Letter From the Editor May-June 2009

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on July 16, 2009

To all KANERE readers here and abroad:

Hello! We apologize that our May-June issue was not published in time due to a lack of the internet service and funds to run the operations as scheduled.

As a new incoming chief editor, Qaabata Boru, I recognize and thank our former editor, bethany ojalehto, for all her efforts. Her great inspirations and dedications have brought considerable changes in the Kakuma Refugee Camp.

Throughout May and June Kakuma was dusty from the wind that blows frequently for almost the whole month. Temperatures were very high. World Refugee Day on June 20th was also celebrated by all the NGO staff and refugees, and a bloody murder occurred among other events.

We are strengthening our commitment to a free press despite the challenges and limitations to carrying out operations.

KANERE appeals to any interested donor to fund the project.

I welcome all comments and contributions from all our readers on the planet.

Please address all correspondence to kakuma.news@gmail.com.

Many thanks,

the KANERE Editor,


International Politics and Humanitarian Action

Posted in Contributors by KANERE on July 16, 2009

By Merrill Smith

To what extent do international politics impact UNHCR’s humanitarian action? Merrill Smith comments on the political interests that shape international refugee protection, from warehousing to “voluntary repatriation” to resettlement, and advocates a balancing of political and humanitarian concerns through integrative protection approaches.

Merrill Smith is the Director of Government Relations and International Advocacy for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and the Editor of the World Refugee Survey.

Sudanese Anxious on Their Repatriation

Posted in Humanitarian Services by KANERE on July 16, 2009

Volume 1, Issue 5-6 / May-June 2009

Some of the Sudanese refugees in kakuma refugee camp claim that they are not ready for repatriation.


World Universities Service of Canada Empowers Kakuma Refugees

Posted in Education by KANERE on July 16, 2009

Volume 1, Issue 5-6 / May-June 2009

25 refugees students who completed their secondary school education embrace unusual opportunity of joining Canada university each year.


Health of Young Children in Kakuma Camp

Posted in Health by KANERE on July 16, 2009

Volume 1, Issue 5-6 / May-June 2009

Under Five Years Children Life in Kakuma Refugee Camp


Hindrance on the Traveling Documents and Right to Movement

Posted in Human Rights by KANERE on July 16, 2009

Volume 1, Issue 5-6 / May-June 2009

Hinderance on the Traveling Documents and Right to Movement.


Local Turkanas Demonstrate

Posted in News Updates by KANERE on July 16, 2009

Volume 1, Issue 5-6 / May-June 2009

Local Turkanas Demonstrate.