Resources dry up at African refugee camps

More than 22 million people are currently critically short of food across the horn of Africa.

Part of the problem is conflict - fighting in South Sudan has displaced almost 2 million people within the country, creating what the UN says is a "man-made famine".

More than a million people have fled to neighbouring countries like Uganda and Kenya and just in the last few days, around 25,000 people have been displaced.

As a result, humanitarian groups have been forced to suspend services, and in northern Kenya, the violence is having a massive impact on one of the world's biggest refugee camps.

At Kakuma Refugee Camp's registration point, the hungry and war-weary wait to be processed, destitute and desperate in the unknown city.

"The number has drastically changed because we were expecting that this is the time that numbers would reduce, but every time we get [arrivals] the number is going higher and higher every day," social worker Terry Maliaka told Newshub.

Betty Eilea and her son Samuel recently arrived after making it out of famine-hit South Sudan - but not before her mother, father and husband were shot.

"It took me five months of walking to get here. We just drank water from the rivers and ate some plants to survive," she told Newshub.

Alex Snary, World Vision's general manager of International Partnerships, told Newshub people arrive in a bad physical state.

"We've heard stories of people beaten, tortured and women raped along the way," he said.

Medical staff attend to the injured, but say lack of food could be the biggest killer. A number of children arrive severely malnourished, nurse Otto James said.

The camp is host to more than 170,000 refugees from 21 different countries. Every day, hundreds more are coming through the doors.

At a food distribution point, there's a panic to join the queue for monthly rations.

At times, it's chaotic, and the carefully measured high nutrient bean mix being given out isn't always enough.

"I'm not happy because if you are hungry you cannot be happy... [There's] not enough food," refugee Abraham Chol told Newshub.

There's pressure on water too - boreholes have dried up in this drought-stricken region.

"Out of these seven bore holes, three are broken. They cannot support water supply, so we only have four," said James Lopeyok, World Vision's food assistance project officer.

Despite its challenges, this camp does provide a sanctuary of sorts - most do feel safe here and at least they have each other.

Due to the strain on resources right across the region, at the Kakuma camp food rations were cut recently by 50 percent.

The need is immense and aid agencies are under real pressure. Seventy percent of the population are below the age of 18 and many arrive without parents or any family members.

But in the face of so much uncertainty, those Newshub spoke to still have dreams and aspirations.

One 18-year-old told us all he wanted was the chance to study, get an education and one day he hoped to be a teacher.

Michael Morrah travelled to East Africa with assistance from World Vision. Click here to donate to the East Africa Hunger Crisis campaign.