Impact of refugee settlements on the environment: a case of Dadaab Refugee camp in Kenya
Mohamed, Abdi S
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The purpose of this study was to establish the impact of refugee settlement on natural resources a case of Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. The study was triggered by the fact that the refugee camps in Kenya are getting swelling numbers of refugee from the neighbouring countries particularly Somali and the realization that there is limited land for expansions hence competition for the scarce resources available with the objectives of analyzing the impact of refugee settlements on the environment, establishing the extent of environmental degradation in settled areas, ascertain host community awareness on dangers posed on the environment by human settlement and suggesting the way forward on the management of natural resources in refugee hosting areas. Simple random sampling method was used to sample the respondents. With the help of Chiefs in the area, a list of all households was made where papers with the names of household heads were folded and picked randomly. Questionnaires, interview schedules literature reviews and observation were the data collection instruments used for the study. Interviews were also used to get responses from heads of environmental agencies that are based in Dadaab refugee camps complex. The study found that natural resources around the refugee camp have been declining every year due to influx of the refugees in the area who compete for the meager resources with the locals without replacing them and this spells doom to the community due to depletion of the resources which mainly support their life. Environmental deterioration of surrounding environment generates impacts on the refugees and local populations. In absence of mitigating measures, the economic, social, and public health impacts on these populations can be devastating. The study therefore concluded that refugee influx i.e high population density, new arrivals and existing population, extent of environmental degradation i.e soil erosion, waste disposal and overgrazing, haphazard settlement and level of community awareness through training and information session are impacts of refugee settlement on the environment.