Three stories of Somali refugees looking for food and safety across the border in Kenya.

Photos by Lynsey Addario

A Somali family waits for a bus to Dadaab. Just over the Somalia border in Liboi, Kenya, about 300 refugees sat in small groups in a flat desert pocked with dead trees. They were waiting for buses to transport them to the Dadaab refugee camps. One older man had walked for 10 days with his family to reach Liboi. “Some people died of starvation in our village,” he said, “and some were too weak to come with us. There are more on their way.”
Kenya 2011 © Lynsey Addario/VII Photo
A 73-year-old man, far right, walks back to his family’s makeshift shelter in Dagahaley refugee camp after burying his second grandchild in two days. A man, his pregnant wife, and his father sat in a hut made of sticks, cloth, and cardboard on the outskirts of Dagahaley camp. Two of the couple’s children had died in the past two days. They were unable to speak, so the grandfather told their story. “I was a farmer,” he said. “I used to keep some livestock but all the animals died over the last three years and the farm dried up. We wanted to feed the children but there was nothing.” He continued: “We are worried … a new member to the family [means] we need to feed it milk. There is no milk for the child and it will very difficult for the baby to survive … the mother is weak.”
Kenya 2011 © Lynsey Addario/VII Photo
A father brings his malnourished baby daughter to MSF’s hospital in Dagahaley camp. A couple waited with their three children in a windswept dirt lot in the Dagahaley camp. They’d been told to come here so they could be moved to a new site, but no one had yet arrived to take them. “The conflict was easy compared to the famine,” he said. “I had always had trouble with the conflict but did not flee. But when the famine came up we had to run away for our lives.” No crops would grow, he added. “There was nothing to eat and there was nothing to plant. I had some goats and they all died. Nothing remained. We had six children – we lost two due to sickness during the drought.” He was worried about being taken somewhere far from MSF’s hospital in Dagahaley because his baby daughter was quite sick. “At the moment I don’t know what to do,” he said. “I should be relocated first then I’ll look for a way to take her back to the hospital.”
Kenya 2011 © Lynsey Addario/VII Photo