Walking in 10 Centimeters of Water

South Sudanese refugees arrive Kakuma
South Sudanese refugees arriving at the Kakuma Reception Center in northwestern Kenya. Photo: LWF/Kenya-Djibouti

By Lennart Hernander

With the heavy rains that have started in Kenya, the Reception Center at Kakuma Refugee camp is flooded. Refugees arriving from South Sudan are literally walking in five to 10 cm of water, and the center is congested.

We’ve already warned that tarpaulin tents pitched on the ground would not be appropriate for accommodation. We need to put up more steady, raised shelters with iron sheet roofing.

By this morning, the center meant for around 700 people had 1,500 arrivals from South Sudan, and the number is expected to rise by this evening, around 7:30 p.m., the time when the buses bring more refugees to the center.

We are doing our best to cope with the influx, and are currently moving some of the refugees to the nearby Malakal Primary School, which had been closed down. But the school lacks facilities such as cooking, and doesn’t have enough water and sanitation facilities.  

The risk of water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, malaria, is very high and this can only get worse with more rains expected. When refugees arrive they are extremely tired, in these wet conditions they can’t even lie down, and might not even get the immediate assistance they need.

The ACT Appeal funding response is extremely slow. The LWF urgently needs funds to provide immediate and appropriate relief assistance in the current conditions.

Lennart Hernander is the LWF representative for the Kenya/Djibouti program.

South Sudan News

28 February 2018
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.