This is the first installment of Scarlett's video journal from her trip to Dadaab, Turkana and Lodwar with Oxfam to shine light on the drought and food crisis that continues to unfold across East Africa. After this one, you can view the later installments here and here, and please visit Oxfam for more information and to help out.
Several months ago I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal about a refugee camp that profoundly struck me. I was aware of the global food crisis, but the statistics this particular article stated were overwhelming. Dadaab, which I had never heard of before, is the largest refugee camp in the world. It was declared full occupancy in 2008, but has received between 600 and 1,500 Somali refugees daily since.
These are victims of political conflict, severe drought and famine, and the population in these camps has now reached roughly 400,000. I tried to wrap my head around what the conditions of that camp must be like, how its occupants were surviving everyday life in the barren, arid landscape with the barest of essentials. How did anyone manage to source food or clean water? And what must the conditions be like in regards to sanitation?