"These men, women and children are exhausted when they finally make it to Dadaab," said Ciaran Cierans, from the Irish Red Cross International Department. For most, letting their families know they have arrived safely is as important as finding food and water. Keeping in touch with their relatives gives them a bit of comfort in an extremely difficult situation."
The mobile-phone service was launched on 18 August and is jointly run with the Kenya Red Cross Society. Any refugee who has arrived in recent weeks is given the opportunity to make a phone call to an immediate family member or other close relative anywhere in the world. The calls last for two minutes and are limited to family and personal news only. So far 7,200 people, including almost 800 minors, have taken advantage of the service.
A team of ICRC staff and Kenya Red Cross volunteers is present in the Dadaab registration area, where the newly arrived refugees can easily approach them. Two other teams move around Dadaab every day, offering the phone service in different locations.
The ICRC runs a variety of projects in response to the current food crisis and the needs generated by the ongoing conflict in Somalia. It is one of the few humanitarian agencies able to work in the southern and central parts of the country.
For further information, please contact:
Rebecca Thorn, Irish Red Cross Communications Officer 087 743 3275
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