Often times in any situation there are factors
that cannot be overcome, the attempt at solutions to the Kenyan
refugee problem is no exception. The UNHCR faces many constraints
when trying to create viable solutions. Most refugees in Kenya
are confined to the Dabaab and Kakuma refugee camp complexes.
Existing in semi-arid regions of Northern and Eastern Kenya,
respectively, there are limited natural resources. The region
can barely support the local nomadic population let alone
the thousands of refugees. The very number of refugees congregating
to trade is detrimental to an already harsh climate, eating
up what little natural resources there are.
That having been said, there are limited opportunities
for trade. Similarly, the opportunity for employment is very
limited, making it very difficult for refugees to become self-reliant.
With self-reliance not being an attainable goal for a large
bulk of the refugee population in Kenya, there has been a
continued provision of material assistance, and resettlement
to other countries.
The location of the camps near borders of
warring nations cause great concern to the UNHCR and Kenyan
government. The occurrence of armed bandits operating with
impunity is quite high, allowing criminals to easily acquire
weapons. Security has become a major issue within the camps,
to such a great extent that in 1999 it led to the closure
of Dabaab for a period of time.
The logical thing to do would be to relocate the camps. However,
this is not a viable option. There simply is no alternative
place to relocate that would have suitable land.