Nairobi: Aid organisation CARE said on Tuesday that cases of rape and violence against women and girls fleeing to an overcrowded refugee camp in Kenya have risen sharply this year.
The humanitarian group said 136 cases had been reported since January in two of three camps in Dadaab in the east of Kenya, compared to 66 in the same period in 2010.
Citing overall figures from the UN refugee agency, CARE said 358 incidents were reported from January to June, up from 75 in the same period last year.
A harsh drought has forced thousands of Somalis into Dadaab, which currently hosts about 380,000 refugees, a figure four times its original capacity when it was set up in 1991.
The new arrivals are forced to settle on the outskirts of the camp where they have no proper security and lack basic health and sanitation facilities.
"The deep psychological effects that drought and subsequent movement can have on woman refugees is immense," Wilson Kisiero, CARE`s gender and development officer, said in a statement.
"We have witnessed high levels of anxiety, panic and trauma due to loss of family members along the way and women are sharing stories of rape, violence and hunger."
The Horn of Africa region has been hit by its worst drought in decades that has left millions facing starvation.