GARISSA, Kenya, July 1 (Reuters) – Two people were killed when riots broke out at a refugee camp in north eastern Kenya when authorities sought to demolish temporary housing, a U.N. official and residents said on Friday.
Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, hosts 380,000 refugees, with more than 61,000 from Somalia crossing the border into Kenya this year. The influx has caused a heavy strain on limited resources, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
Matters came to a head on Thursday, when riots erupted in which two people died.
“Rioting broke out when police sought to disperse a crowd that was protesting an attempt to demolish illegal structures around a food distribution point,” UNHCR said in a statement.
“Teargas was used, and later live gunshot. Our information is that two refugees were killed and around a dozen injured.”
“This incident (riots) is symptomatic of the pressures at the camp amid overcrowding compounded by the very high number of arrivals we have been seeing recently from Somalia,” said Adrian Edwards, the UNHCR spokesman.
Residents said the structures were destroyed before a 10-day notice to do so lapsed.
UNHCR said a new camp was opened last week in Ethiopia to cater for the mass influx from Somalia.
“Urgent funding is needed to deal with this situation,” Edwards said.
“We are also receiving reports that people displaced by drought, lack of food and insecurity in the Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions are arriving in Mogadishu in search of food and other humanitarian assistance,” Edwards said.
Adrian Edwards, the UNHCR spokesman said a similar flow of refugees has been seen going into Ethiopia, which is hosting 55,000 Somali refugees who made their way this year, of whom 26 percent were malnourished.
There are more than 750,000 Somali refugees living in neighbouring Kenya, Yemen and Ethiopia, while another 1.46 million are displaced within Somalia.