On the Ground in Kenya

    Day One - The World doesn't respond
    Day Two - UWT UK meet with UWT Somalia
    Day Three - In the Dadaab refugee camps
    Day Four - Living Conditions In Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya
    Day Five - UWT Volunteers Preparing Food Distribution Packages
    Day Six - Food Distribution for the Suffering Refugees of Somalia


     

    Day Six
     

    UWT Begin Food Distribution Project For The Suffering Refugees of Somalia.
     

    Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuh,

    Alhamdulillah, Ummah Welfare Trust have commenced emergency food distribution. Utilising UWT volunteers and local helpers, the project got off to a very successful start as the first batch of food packages were distributed to 3,000 individuals. A further 5,000 individuals will be benefit tomorrow inshaa-Allah.

    Just in these 3 days, around 8,000 people will be provided food for ten days at a cost of only £17,000.

    So, £1 will feed one individual three meals a day for five days, subhaanAllah! or

    £1 will feed a whole family for one day!

    Below: A very sick woman was wheeled in by her son

     

    May Allah (swt) accept the donations of all brothers and sisters and may He accept the efforts of all those involved with Ummah Welfare Trust. Ameen

    Please keep your donations coming in. The food distribution projects for drought victims in the Horn of Africa  will carry on all the way till Ramadhan and then followed by our Suhoor and Iftar projects. I request you to remember all the brothers and sisters suffering from the drought in your humble du'aas both before the blessed month of Ramadhan and during it.

    Please strive to raise donations in your own areas wherever you are, for our Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:

    'The one who strives to fulfil the needs of his brother, Allah (swt) will fulfil his needs' - Saheeh Muslim

    Day Five
     

    Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuh,

    UWT Volunteers Preparing Food Distribution Packages

    UWT Volunteers worked through the night on thursday to ensure 1,700 packages were ready to distribute at the Dadaab refugee camp from friday morning.

    Pictures showing UWT volunteers preparing packages:

    UWT food packages contain:

    Rice, Pasta, Sugar, Salt, Tea leaves & Milk. Each package contains enough to last a family of around 6 people for 10 days.

    Please donate generously towards our food distribution appeal. It only costs £1 a day to feed a whole family.

    Day Four
     

    UWT UK Reps At The Dadaab Refugee Camp In Kenya, More Videos...
     

    Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuh,

    Below: Ebrahim Moosa, a member of the UWT projects team speaks to refugees about their gruelling journey from Somalia to one of the world's largest refugee camps in Kenya in search for food for themselves and their young children.

    May Allah swt ease their situation.

    Below: A video clip where I speak from the registration camp in Dadaab where around a thousand refugees come in daily as 'new arrivals'. They are registered, immunised and allocated camps even though all the large camps holding thousands around Dadaab are full.

    Below: Speaking about the living conditions at the camp where 370,000 refugees are currently living.

    Doctors Wordwide Representative's Thoughts
     

    I asked a representative of the charity Doctors Worldwide to share his thoughts on the crisis in Dadaab. Here is what he had to say:

    'The continuing drought in the Horn of Africa presents an immense challenge to all those working to improve conditions for the worst affected. In Dadaab where as a public health doctor I’ve been involved in assessing needs for a British medical charity (Doctors Worldwide), the situation is becoming increasingly desperate. As thousands of refugees flood weekly into its environs, the strain on local services is now at breaking point. Organisations like Ummah Welfare Trust have been impressive in their ability to rapidly identify the most needy and provide them with food and nutritional support while maintaining the principle of conducting their operations at minimal cost.

    The immediate focus for many involved in the aid effort has rightly been on the most vulnerable of the new arrivals in terms of providing basic essentials such as food, water, clothing, shelter and emergency care. However, the needs of the impoverished host communities should not be forgotten. These poverty-stricken communities share their meagre food supplies and belongings with the new refugees to help sustain them but often have no access to services brought in to aid the refugees. Their generosity of spirit should be applauded and future aid and service provision designed to cater for their needs as well.'


    Dr Osman Ahmed Dar
    Specialist Registrar in Public Health
    Health Protection Agency

    Day Three
     

    UWT UK Reps Meet With Provincial Commissioner

    11 July 2011, 8.00am

    Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuh,

    We met the Provincial Commissioner this morning to find out more about the situation in Dadaab and also to inform him of our objectives at the refugee camps. He welcomed us as an NGO from the UK and thanked us for coming to the aid of some of the world's poorest and most needy. He spoke of the poor condition of the people and what the government of Kenya is doing to help.

    11 July 2011, 9.30am

    We travelled to Dadaab from our base in Garissa, Kenya. It's a 100km drive but there was no proper road which links to Dadaab, just rocks and sand, so it could take anything between 2 hours and 3 hours on a rough road. There we had meetings with local Imams, commissioners and the UN.

    UWT UK Reps In The Dadaab Refugee Camps, Kenya
     

    We arrived at the camps, spoke with the District Commissioner and travelled around to assess the situation. The refugee population in Dadaab now is around 400,000, much more than the camps can hold.

    The goverment said to us that they have a moral obligation to allow these refugees to come in from Somalia in their thousands, even though the sheer amount of refugees is very difficult to deal with. The refugee camps are way over capacity and they are looking at other ways to accomodate them.

    When the refugees initially come in, they arrive at a registration camp where they and their families give their details, take photographs and are immunised against common diseases. They are then allocated into various large camps all around Dadaab. This registration point is where refugees from Somalia first arrive and where they are in their worst state. Most, as found out through our interviews, had been walking for months and were in a terrible state. Many women and children were coming in without adequate clothing while some children were left behind with no hope of survival.

    Pictures from the registration camp


    An interview with one of the Imams of the Dadaab area, he speaks in Somali about the conditions here.
     

    We then moved on to see the living conditions of the refugees in the camps.

    Pictures showing how the Muslim refugees are living. Upto 10-12 members of a family are sharing one makeshift shelter made from twigs and cardboard. There is a severe shortage of food and very little access to clean water. Providing aid for 400,000 refugees is proving very difficult for the NGO's working on the ground. Some refugees have been living in Dadaab for 20 years!

    Ebrahim Moosa, a member of the UWT projects team from UK speaks about the living conditions in the refugee camp.
     


    'They have lost everything except the Deen of Allah!'
     

    Shaykh Yasin, our UWT head of operations summed up the conditions of the Somali refugees by saying to me, 'They have lost everything, except the deen which is still strong walhamdulillah!'

    A picture showing the establishment of a temporary madrasah under a tree, teaching the children the Holy Qur'an.

     

    Coming soon...
     

    Ummah Welfare Trust are on the ground in Dadaab in Kenya, close to the Somalia border and have initiated the emergency response to the situation here. More information and footage to come in the next few days.

    Please donate generously towards our Horn of Africa Appeal, your donations will make the world of difference here In East Africa.

    Day Two


    UWT UK Reps Meet With UWT Somalia Leader

    10 July 2011, 9.00am

    Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuh,

    This morning, Shaykh Yasin from our partner organisation in Somalia flew into the Kenyan capital, Nairobi to join us for talks and the visit to Garissa and then on to the Dadaab refugee camp.

    Shaykh Yasin (left) and one of his colleagues (right)


    We will inshaa-Allah be leaving Nairobi this morning and travelling to Garissa, a 4-5 hour drive. From there we will plan the next day's visit to Dadaab - a dangerous and difficult place to work for NGOs.

    Unfortunately it's not as simple as driving there and meeting people, assessing the situation etc. Our partner organisation here in Kenya, YMA has applied for official clearance from the government, they will be asking local brothers to escort us and request a police presence.

     

    Map showing Nairobi and Garissa. The Dadaab refugee camp is based 100km west from Garissa towards the Somalia border


    Before we build our next £1-2 million masjid!

    10 July 2011, 6.00pm

    Next time we build a £1-2 million masjid in the UK, maybe we can use paint instead of marble on our walls, lose a couple of carved doors or two and build an entire masjid in Africa instead! Who needs marble when we can a establish a place of worship for an entire Muslim community instead.

    'Whoever builds a house for Allah, Allah will Build a House for him in Paradise' [Bukhari]

    A former masjid we saw along the way to Garissa


    Ibrahim (UWT field worker - UK) speaks about the drought in East Africa

     

     


    Talking to a UWT Kenya volunteer about the situation in Dadaab
     


    Alhamdulillah we reached our base in Garissa. Brother Abdur Rasheed (pictured above) has already been to the Dadaab refugee camps in the last week. He spoke to me about the situation there. Some alarming points he mentioned:

    - Women and children are walking on average 500-700km just to get to one of the largest refugee camps in the world. That's like walking from London to Glasgow! SubhaanAllah!
    - When young children become ill on the journey and there is no hope of recovery, many mothers are forced to leave them behind. Brother Abdur Rasheed mentioned that many of these young children are then eaten by wild animals!

    Visiting a local madrasah
     

    Have a look at the children at this madrasah. Not having mushafs of the Qur'an doesn't stop them from learning, inspirational! May Allah swt reward them for the eagerness and grant them the knowledge of the Qur'an.

    The best of you is he who learns the Qur'an and teaches it.' [ al-Bukhari]


    UWT UK reps meet with local leaders and organisations

    10 July 2011, 9.30pm

    We have just had a meeting with local leaders, members from various organisations and experienced aid workers. We informed them of UWT's main objectives this week.

    We didn't realise how difficult it would be to work in this region. SubhaanAllah, there are tens of issues to address before we can start any work. Alhamdulillah, UWT are ready, always prepared for hard work and here in the region for the long term, ready to serve humanity.

    We have to understand, these people are totally destitute and desperate; many are without any food, clean water or medicine giving rise to crime around the refugee camps. Simply establishing a camp in the region and distributing aid can have many implications especially given the insecurity. UWT are carrying out full assessments, working through the goverment and the UN and most importantly utilising local knowledge through our brothers and volunteers on the ground. Nevertheless, tomorrow and the rest of the week will be quite dangerous. Make du'a insh-Allah.

    UWT really have thought about everything and this is why the donors of the UK alhamdulillah, continue to place their trust in the charity. Ummah Welfare Trust - fulfilling an obligation on behalf of the Ummah, walhamdulillah.


    Day One
     

    'The World Doesn't Respond!'

    by Muhammad Taaha Laher

    UK PR Representative, reporting from Nairobi, Kenya

    Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuh,

    'The world doesn't respond' was how one aid worker in the Dadaab refugee camp put it. 'What is the point of warning the rest of the world when they do not respond!', a huge difference from the response of the likes of Uthman (Radi-Allahu 'anh), when once during a severe famine, he reponded to the cries of the ummah by donating his entire caravan of 100 camels, laden with goods amongst the suffering people, only hoping for the pleasure of Allah swt in return.

    We touched down in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi yesterday and immediately were made aware of the alarming situation.

    One of our Kenyan representatives, Abdul Qadir, spoke of the increasingly worse situation with a major shortage of food, water and clothes leading to illnesses and deaths.

    A Somali refugee carries his son as he hurries to join a new line outside a registration and food distribution point [Roberto Schmidt/AFP]


    Thousands of refugees are arriving on a daily basis, many walking for weeks barefooted in the scorching heat. They are malnourished and dehydrated when they arrive and many die along the way or within days of reaching the camp. As far as they are concerned, undertaking this journey is their only hope of survival due to the severe drought, lack of jobs and instability in Somalia.

    Some of our mothers are forced to make such sacrifices, letting their weaker children die while trying to save their stronger ones.
      
    One can not even begin to imagine the pain and grief faced by them.

    Abshira Abdukadir, a four-year-old Somali girl suffering from severe diarrhea and having trouble breathing, is looked after by a doctor hours after they finally reached Dadaab [Roberto Schmidt/AFP]


    One of our sisters and mother Halima Omar, 30,  buried four of her children who died of hunger. She said: 'I lost four of my six children to hunger. We felt helpless. There is nothing in the world worse than watching your own child die in front of your eyes because you cannot feed him.

    We are scheduled to have a meeting today with our Kenya field workers and Somalia field leader to plan how best to work in a very difficult region for relief organisations.

    We will later on today get official clearance for Ummah Welfare Trust through the Kenyan government to enter the Dadaab refugee camps which are situated around 6-7 hours drive from the capital, Nairobi close to the Somali border. We will be meeting UN and other aid organisation reps to ensure aid is delivered to those who need it most.

    As soon as we reach Dabaab, we will inshaa-Allah be able to gather images and footage of the situation and provide  feedback to donors in the UK.