From the air, Dadaab doesn’t appear — it slowly comes into focus. The huge empty expanse of red dust looks like a terracotta platter dotted with pepper. As you draw closer, the black specks grow and change color, and the bare platter fills, resembling a generous helping of githeri, the beans and maize dish that is a Kenyan staple.
Only as you begin your descent does it become clear that this arid expanse of white is actually a vast expanse of tents – row upon row, both man-made and manufactured. An area designed for 90,000 now houses five times that many.