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Rains leave thousands of Somali refugees homeless

Thousands of Somali refugees at Dadaab in northeastern Kenya have been left homeless after heavy rains destroyed hundreds of shelters last week, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported.

It said most of the shelters in two of the three camps at Dadaab - Ifo and Dagahaley which together house more than 60,000 people - collapsed or were washed away by torrential rains, which also cut link roads to and from the camps.

No deaths were reported but UNHCR said there had been considerable damage. Attempts to move the refugees to drier places were initially hampered by waterlogged roads.

However Emmanuel Nyabera, UNHCR's spokesman in Nairobi, told IRIN on Monday that plastic sheeting had now been delivered to the refugees.

He also said 12,000 litres of fuel were airlifted to Dadaab on Sunday in order to run vehicles and generators.

Although there had been no rain over the weekend, most parts of the camps were still covered in water and the major concern now was to prevent water-borne diseases.

Nyabera said the warning signs were there, in that there had been a rise in cases of bloody diarrhoea. Usually there were about five cases per day, but now staff were seeing 15 cases a day.

The priority, he added, was to rebuild the shelters. In the meantime, more plastic sheeting would be delivered to the camps.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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