Marsabit County wants refugees in Moyale moved to a camp
- The refugees are fleeing a crackdown in which the Ethiopian government is accused of killing at least 13 people.
- County Secretary Malich Boru said there are now 9,667 refugees.
- They are camping at Butiye social hall, Somare, an NGO camp at Moyale, a plot owned by Governor Mahmoud Mohamed and Dambala Fachana Village.
By Gitonga Marete and Irene Mwendwa
The Marsabit County Government wants Ethiopian refugees arriving in Moyale relocated to a camp as they are "stretching health and security facilities" in the border town.
County Secretary Malich Boru on Tuesday said the situation was worsening by the day and asked the National Government to step in.
“For the first few days when the refugees came into the country we tried to assist them by providing basic necessities but we are now over-stretched.
“The health situation at the [makeshift] camps is pathetic and we fear that due to poor sanitation, waterborne diseases are likely to break out,” he said in a telephone interview from Moyale where he had gone to assess the situation.
The refugees are fleeing a crackdown on the Opposition in which the Ethiopian government is accused of killing at least 13 people on March 10, sparking the exodus.
Mr Boru said the number of people had risen to 9,667 from the initial 8,200.
They have sought refuge at Butiye social hall, Somare, an NGO camp at Moyale, a plot owned by Governor Mahmoud Mohamed and Dambala Fachana Village.
He said the number did not include members of 70 households who had crossed the porous border two days ago. On average, a household has at least six members.
Mr Boru said officials from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Vision were on the ground and were assessing the refugee situation with a view to making recommendations on the way forward.
“We have already identified a place about 40km from Moyale Town for resettlement of the refugees.
“It is critical that they are moved to one place so that help can be consolidated rather than now when they are scattered in five camps,” Mr Boru said.
Some of the refugees are also being housed by relatives and friends thus straining resources of host families.
Security concerns have been raised, with residents saying the refugees should be screened to prevent terrorists from entering Kenya as asylum seekers.
On Tuesday, government officials were said to be holed up in meetings in Moyale over the matter.
“We are in a meeting discussing a possible relocation of the refugees,” said an official who sought anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the press.