Kakuma Refugee Camp in Northern Kenya
Photographer: Dai Kurokawa
Kakuma Refugee camp in northwestern Kenya’s arid Turkana county was established in 1992 to house the so-called ‘Lost boys of Sudan’, some 20,000 boys who fled the Second Sudanese Civil war that broke out in 1983 and dragged on for almost 22 years. According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, as of June 2019, Kakuma camp and the adjacent Kalobeyei settlement host 190,181 refugees, the majority of whom come from South Sudan and Somalia.
Although the regional government has been working with aid organisations to create a harmonious situation for both refugees and the local ethnic Turkana community, the conflict between the two groups remains a problem. Kenya’s Standard newspaper reported on 11 July 2019 that the two communities clashed at Kakuma camp after a refugee woman was shot by an unknown attacker, bringing local businesses to a standstill. Many refugees in Kakuma hope to one day resettle in a third country, but the process can take years and many are stuck in the camp as they lack the necessary travel documents.
UNHCR says that, since the beginning of 2019, 295 refugees left Kakuma camp for resettlement, mainly to the US, Canada and Australia. Together with the larger Dadaab refugee camp near the border with Somalia, more than 400,000 refugees live in camps in Kenya, while some 75,000 live in urban areas, according to UNHCR.