10 Largest Refugee Camps in the World


The legacies of todays conflicts can be seen in the enormous populations of the world’s largest refugee camps. For most people these camps are far from a temporary home. With scarce local resources, the majority of the camps depend on external aid for survival.

10. Tamil Nadu State, India

10 Largest refugee camps
Woman frying red chillies in Vembakkottai camp. An estimated 66,700 Sri Lankans currently reside in this refugee camp. Another 34,000 live outside of the camp.
Sources: Wall Street Journal
Photo: Flickr 

9. Nyarugusu, Tanzania

10 Largest Refugee Camps
This camp is home to an estimated 68,197 refugees. Nearly two-thirds are children between the ages 10-24. Almost all of them were born in the camp or became a refugee at a very young age. The majority of the refugees are Burundians and Congolese.
Sources: Country Office, Wall Street Journal
Photo: Flickr

8. Nakivale, Uganda

10 Largest Refugee Camps
As one of Africa’s oldest and largest refugee camps, Nakivale currently houses 68,996 people. Many of the residents fled the violent conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is unlikely the refugees will be able to return home in the near future.
Sources: UN Refugees, Wall Street Journal
Photo: UN Refugees

7. Yida, South Sudan

10 Largest Refugee Camps
South Sudan, 2012. This refugee camp is home to 70,736 registered individuals. After a sharp increase in registrations in February, the number of new registrations is slowly decreasing.
Sources: UNHCR
Photo: Cédric Gerbehaye

6. Mbera, Mauritania

10 Largest Refugee Camps
UNHCR is predicting there to be 75,261 residents in this camp by December 2014. The majority of the refugees are from Mali, but many come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cote d’Ivoire, as well. It is expected the influx of Malian refugees will slowly stabilize. The situation in Mali still remains delicate and will not allow for large-scale returns.
Sources: UNHCR, Wall Street Journal
Photo: VOA

5. Al Zaatari, Jordan

10 Largest Refugee Camps
Al-Harari sitting in the tent she shares with her father, brother and sister. She fled Syria with her extended family in August 2012. UNHCR reports there are 101,402 refugees currently in the camp and that number has been decreasing since February 2014. The majority of the refugees are Syrians fleeing the violence in their country. The camp has faced several violent protests since it opened two years ago, mainly due to poor living conditions.
Sources: BBC, UNHCR
Photo: Flickr

4. Jabalia, Gaza Strip

10 Largest Refugee Camps
“Eight Palestinian children in the Jabalia refugee camp, in the northern Gaza strip, look through their window where laundry is hanging, watching a funeral (not shown) process past their house.” The largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps, Jabalia is home to 110,000 registered refugees who fled from southern Palestine. The camp faces extreme unemployment, as well as a contaminated water supply and electricity cuts.
Sources: UNRWA
Photo: Eman Mohammed

3. Kakuma, Kenya

10 Largest Refugee Camps
“Women in the Kakuma Refugee camp in northern Kenya wait in line for food vouchers which will allow them larger quantities of food for their families.” This refugee camp has been home to South Sudan refugees since 1992. The ongoing violence in South Sudan has prompted 20,000 people to flee to Kenya as of February 2014. Today, 124,814 refugees from 15 nationalities live in Kakuma. The camp is significantly over capacity and suffers from lack of resources.
Sources: NRC, Wall Street Journal
Photo: Zoriah

2. Dollo Ado, Ethiopia

10 Largest Refugee Camps
“Somali refugee children share a meal inside a tent in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia.” This camp holds 201,123 registered Somali refugees. The population of this refugee camp has been steadily increasing since March 2013 due to drought and famine in Somalia.
Sources: UNHCR
Photo: Flickr

1. Dadaab, Kenya

10 Largest Refugee Camps
“A Somali man who fled violence and drought in Somalia with his family sits on the ground outside a food distribution point in the Dadaab refugee camp on July 5.” UNHCR estimates that in December 2014 there will be 496,130 refugees in the camp from Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and various other places. They also estimate there to be 83, 660 people seeking asylum from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
Sources: UNHCR
Photo: NBC News

Feature Photo: Mereja


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