Kenya: Burying babies in Dadaab

Yesterday I walked through an area of Dadaab refugee camp called Dagahaley. This is where new arrivals to Dadaab, who have escaped the food crisis across the border in Somalia, are taking shelter while they wait to be fully registered.

It’s an area where poverty and hunger stare you in the face. An area where the fine red dust is whipped up by the wind, stings your eyes and gets everywhere. An area that’s bleak and harsh.

Not somewhere you’d want to call home.

Child graves

Walking through Dagahaley I came across not just one but two small children’s graves being dug. The men out in the burning sun, swinging their pickaxes high above their heads to dig down into the red earth, to give their children as dignified a resting place as possible. 

Stretching away from me were small mounds of earth signifying yet more child graves.


Preparing Habiba's grave in Degahaley


Burying Habiba

Habiba was just six months old when she died. She was born malnourished and died malnourished. Her family had recently arrived in Dadaab having escaped from the drought and food crisis, hoping for assistance. Hoping their baby would survive.

Now they’re burying her. This is what is happening in East Africa because of the food crisis.

One man I met at Habiba’s grave told me all he wanted was a job so he could provide for his family. People will do anything to keep their children alive. But they’re running out of options. They’ve already lost everything they have. Now they are losing their children.

Time for action

I’m lucky, I can leave Dadaab.  The refugees, here to escape from the drought, aren’t so lucky.

To stop more children like Habiba dying we need rich countries to step up to the mark and to fill the US$1 billion funding gap to be able to respond to the scale of this crisis.

And we need them to do this now. Waiting any longer means more children will continue to die.

Donate now to our East Africa Appeal

Leave a Reply


  • Irene Babu

    It is a pity to see how children suffer. I shed into tears when ever I see a child suffer. Children are meant to be source of joy,happinees and love in a family.In Africa it is believed that children reunites families. Women out there,in this difficult moments of your lives,no matter how hard it is,kindly ask God/Allah to direct you.Do not abandon them. Please,please,please.Have a heart of compassion.

  • Manuela Nimoh

    If all of us would donate the money to this poor people, who are so desperate, that they have to abandon their children, as they can’t feed them, instead of wasting money for things we don’t really need, like one more pair of shoes on top of the 20 we have, ore one more dress on top of the ones which are hanging in our wardrobes, and which we never touch again, I could go on and on with all the things that come into my mind . I feel shame when I see that this people have nothing and we have everything and more. Just think twice before you buy extras and think about what kind of difference it could make for this people and their children. It doesn’t help to see all this shed our tears and end up doing nothing. It’s our all responsibility to help them as God has blessed us with so much. I won’t just look and go shopping….what will you do?