A cholera epidemic that has been spreading in Kenya
for more than a year is threatening Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp complex
, situated near the Somalia border, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders reported Friday.
It said more than 540 Dadaab residents have been infected with cholera, a debilitating and often fatal bacterial disease spread by human waste in drinking water. Many of the patients are children.
The threat has been amplified because of international aid cuts to Dadaab that have led to shortages of latrines and soap. With the onset of the rainy season, the charity said, the epidemic could spread further.
“The fact that this outbreak has occurred further highlights the dire hygiene and living conditions in the camp and lack of proper long-term investment in sanitation services,” Charles Gaudry, the charity’s head of mission in Kenya, said in statement.
Dadaab is a complex of three camps established nearly a quarter-century ago to house up to 90,000 people escaping the mayhem that was then ravaging Somalia. A few years ago its population exceeded 400,000, but the number has declined somewhat since then and is now about 330,000, according to data compiled by the United Nations refugee agency.