BERLIN – A restructuring of German aid policies could jeopardize medical assistance for tens of thousands of Somali refugees in a camp in Kenya, diplomats warned in a memo obtained by The Associated Press Tuesday.
Germany's GIZ aid agency currently runs six health centers jointly with the U.N.'s refugee agency in the sprawling Dadaab camp that houses some 600,000 refugees near the Somali border.
In a memorandum from the German Embassy in Nairobi, diplomats warn that a possible closure of those centers starting next year could mean that "about 150,000 refugees, among them thousands of malnourished children under 5 years old, suddenly receive little or no medical assistance."
The support for the project apparently ended after Germany's government reshuffled parts of the funds for humanitarian assistance from the development aid to the foreign ministry earlier this year, according to the note that was circulated among lawmakers in Berlin.
Germany's Foreign Ministry said funding to the U.N. refugee agency for Dadaab remains unchanged at €3.2 million ($4.1 million) in 2013, but it declined to comment on the future of the health centers.
UNHCR spokesman Stefan Teloeken in Berlin confirmed that the health project looks set to end this year, but stressed the agency will try to continue operating the centers.
Germany's GIZ agency said in a statement "it is now up to the UNHCR to find a similarly qualified" partner organization to operate the health centers.