About 420,000 Somali Refugees Crowd Kenya Camp to Escape Famine, U.S. Says

The world’s biggest refugee camp is being expanded to cope with an influx of Somali refugees who now number more than 420,000, the State Department said today.

A fourth camp is being built at the crowded Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya to handle the daily arrival of Somalis escaping Africa’s worst famine in 60 years, said Eric Schwartz, assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration.

“The demands and the needs are growing faster than what has been provided,” said former Senator Bill Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, who accompanied Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and other U.S. officials on a visit to the refugee camp earlier this week.

About 29,000 children have died from the famine in the last 90 days, said Gayle Smith, special assistant to the president, who briefed reporters by conference call.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Lerman in Washington at dlerman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Leslie Hoffecker at lhoffecker@bloomberg.net

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