23 Feb 2016

City of Thorns: 9 Lives in the World's Largest Refugee Camp

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 3:10 pm on 23 February 2016
Refugee shelters in Dadaab

Refugee shelters in Dadaab Photo: Oxfam East Africa / CC BY 2.0

In 1991, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees opened a camp on a dusty and desolate piece of desert in Kenya to provide safe haven for people fleeing the chronic civil war in Somalia. Now the camp is bigger than Christchurch and Dunedin combined. Dadaab was never supposed to be permanent, but the 500,000 refugees living there have nowhere to go.

Former aid worker Ben Rawlence profiles nine of the residents and describes the forces that keep them living in a constant state of limbo amidst filth and corruption in his new book City of Thorns.

He takes us inside life in Dadaab: