RE: “Can we agree that refugees are people, not statistics?” (The New Times, September 6).
Refugees have become numbers in Europe simply because the governments need to plan and protect them properly. But in many parts of East Africa mentioned in the article, generally UNHCR takes some responsibility by providing them some kind of shelter, sanitation and food in refugee camps. I say some kind, due to inefficiency and unsustainability of UNHCR's provision.
For refugees living in cities, they strive to make a living like many poor citizens from those countries. Thanks to corruption, some refugees are able to get national identity. But in countries like Kenya, the harassment of Somalis has been widely reported – even those who hold refugees status.
To sum up, East Africa accommodates a large number of refugees; we do not see them as statistics, but their treatment is the same as elsewhere.