Disease outbreak in UN shelter of LGBT+ refugees

A group of LGBT+ refugees from Flag Kakuma, a shelter run by United Nation, were rushed to the hospital after falling sick days following complains of overcrowding and poor sanitation at the facility, Reuters has reported.

According to the refugee representative of the sexual minority group, around 40 refugees, three minors included, suffered severe stomach cramping, vomiting and diarrhea on Thursday.

“At the hospital, in the outskirts of Nairobi we were treated, put on drips and received tablets medication but the doctor refused what is wrong with us,” said Moses Mbazira the LGBT+ refugee representative.

“We believe it is because of the poor sanitation and hygiene in the place because there are overflowing toilets. We had reported the unbearable condition at the shelter to the United Nations Refugee agency (UNHCR) before this outbreak,” said Mr Mbazira.

At the beginning of the year, the refugees raised alarm to the organization that they only had six toilets for 200 people which blocked and was imminent danger to their health.

The LGBT+ refugees, it is reported were moved to their present camp, an abandoned school on the outskirt’s of Nairobi, from Kakuma refugee camp where they were facing attacks.

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They were about 200 from Burundi, Ethiopia, DR Congo and most of them from the neighboring country of Uganda.

However, the UNHCR has maintained that the outbreak was not connected to the condition at the shelter.

“The samples we collected were analyzed for bacterial infections, including cholera, but the results came out negative. So they have been taken to the national government laboratory for further analysis,” said Ms Yvonne Ndege, UNHCR Kenya’s representative.

“The assessment team on the ground, however, did not establish any connection between the symptoms reported and the condition at the shelter,” she added.

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UNHCR further added that the shelter was set up due to emergency measures and are looking for a suitable accommodation for the refugees.

Most African countries have strict laws against homosexuality practices with it being punishable with upto 14years in jail in the country.

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Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde is reporter with Business Today. Email: [email protected]

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