UN expats stranded in Dadaab as row rages

The Dadaab refugee camp. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The Dadaab refugee camp. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The international staff of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) are stranded in Dadaab as a standoff between the agency and the host communities entered its sixth day Wednesday.

Since the impasse started at the biggest refugee camp in Kenya, flights have remained suspended with the locals having blocked the airstrip.

Consequently, about 20 international staff have been stranded in Dadaab.

Key operations such as the distribution of food to camps, which was to start on December 1 to 8, have been delayed until the security of workers is assured.

A source within the refugee agency said yesterday anxiety was high among the staff, with most of them unable to get out of the main office compound.

Nasibo Abdi Farah, one of the protesting residents, claimed the UNHCR had issued a notice to sack more than 100 local youth. She termed the move unfair as the international staff earn “huge salaries”.

The locals also complained about the slashing of funds to community-based groups based in Dadaab.

The community claims that refugees were degrading the environment due to charcoal burning, poaching and cutting of trees but the UN refugee agency has not intervened.