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Somalie : The Quiet Epidemic of Mental Disorders in Refugees

le 26 février 2016

[Wired] SIXTY MILES WEST of the Somali border, in Dadaab, Kenya, is the largest refugee settlement in the world. First built a quarter century ago, more than 300,000 Somali refugees now live in a dusty, sprawling community of makeshift houses and tents originally intended for 90,000. Children have been born in the Dadaab refugee camps—and the children of those children, too. Waves of Somali people first fled to Dadaab because of a civil war that is still ongoing. In the past decade, more came still because of famine and drought that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

To live in Dadaab, they have escaped violence and death—only to plunge into an abyss of uncertainty. In 2014, the United Nations’ refugee agency, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, resettled less than 1 percent of all Somali refugees in Kenya, two-thirds of whom reside in Dadaab. Overcrowding in the camps means that they don’t have enough bathrooms or sufficient security. Sexual assault is a looming threat for women and children. Not to mention their makeshift homes are not really theirs: Last April, Kenya’s government threatened to shut down the Dadaab camps and deport the refugees.

“They are not certain of the future,” says Michael Kamau, a psychotherapist who works with Dadaab refugees through the international nonprofit Center for Victims of Torture. “They are under a lot of stress.”

The stress from this instability—in addition to the trauma they’ve already experienced—means that refugees are particularly vulnerable to mental disorders. Refugees resettled in Western countries might be as much as ten times as likely to have PTSD ; one in three refugees has PTSD or depression . (In American adults, it’s more like one in 14.)

Source Wired