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Sonoma County Gazette
Refugee Camps in Africa

4 of the Most Resourceful Refugee Camps in Africa

Jun 13, 2017
by Jackie Edwards


Africa is the second-largest continent and home to more than 26 percent of the refugees in the world. This percentage of displaced adults and children is not expected to decline due to various nations in Africa experiencing civil wars that lead to uprooting. One quality of the biggest refugee camps in Africa is their ability to offer social benefits such as education and medical aid in temporary spaces. Here are four of the best compounds that are most befitting for displaced families coming from Somalia, Sudan, and other war-torn areas. 

1. Mishama, Tanzania

Mishama was formed during the 1970s and recently became more than just a makeshift camp where sojourners settle for a limited time and move on. This compound is home to more than 62,000 refugees who typically migrate from Burundi to escape violence that resembles that of extermination. Mishama is known for its produce, as many residents are farmers who grow and sell food in the community. A significant number of residents in Mishama have received Tanzanian citizenship within the past few years. 

2. Pugnido, Ethiopia

Pugnido Refugee Camp is in the Western part of Ethiopia and houses more than 62,000 travelers. The compound is not only one of the largest in the region but also the oldest temporary living spaces in Ethiopia. Pugnido opened in 1993 and is home to many migrants from Sudan. The camp is the ideal place for orphaned children as refugee workers run a foster care system that puts newly displaced children with adults already living in the camp. 

3. Katumba, Tanzania

Another refugee camp in Tanzania is Katumba. Established in 1972, this community is one of the oldest of its kind in the country. Katumba has humble roots as an unplanned compound that today boasts a population of more than 66,000 inhabitants who have majorly received recognition as Tanzanian citizens within the past few years. 

4. Ifo, Kenya

Ifo is one of many smaller compounds inthe larger Dadaab refugee camp. The area is made up of more than 62,000 travelers who mostly come from Somalia. Ifo is one of the oldest compounds within the Dadaab refugee camp that has a fostering program for children and exceptional medical services. Pregnant women have access to excellent care. Surgical procedures are also available at the camp’s level four hospital to further improve the quality of life at the compound.  

Although refugee camps in Africa appear vital for survival in certain areas, the future of these temporary living spaces is apparently at stake. It was just last year that the Kenyan government threatened to close the Dadaab compound due to safety concerns surrounding congestion. Advocates were able to block the shutdown, but there is clearly no guarantee that any refugee camp will remain in coming years. Spreading awareness and building momentum in support of compounds seems to be the only way to keep them open.



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