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Kenya: UN reports improved security, steps up aid to displaced

Kenya: UN reports improved security, steps up aid to displaced

Displaced Kenyans at police station in Tigoni, 30 kilometres from Nairobi
The United Nations said today that security has improved slightly in Kenya, where the unrest sparked by December’s disputed elections has uprooted over 300,000 people from their homes and agencies are increasing efforts to aid those affected.

At the same time, the UN Country Team reported sporadic violence in Kericho, Eldoret, Kisumu and the capital, Nairobi, and called the humanitarian situation “precarious.”

According to the Kenya Red Cross Society, there are now some 325,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that UN teams will step up the delivery of aid to more than 39,000 IDPs spread out in 15 camps in the North Rift Valley. Medicine, food and water are the most pressing needs for the IDPs.

On Tuesday, the World Food Programme (WFP) handed out some 80 tons of food at 11 IDP camps. Around 2,000 displaced children under the age of 5 also received supplementary food items to prevent malnutrition. The agency also noted that enrolment in UN-assisted schools in Nairobi slums is some 28 per cent lower than before the outbreak of violence.

Meanwhile, the Government of Uganda now estimates there are 12,000 Kenyan refugees on its soil, based on a joint tally with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

On the political front, the mediation team led by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recently reported progress in negotiations between the Government and the opposition.

While welcoming that development, the Security Council yesterday expressed its strong concern at the continuing dire humanitarian situation in the country. In a presidential statement, the 15-member body also requested Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report on how the UN can further support the mediation efforts in Kenya, as well as on the impact of the crisis on the wider sub-region and UN operations in that area.

Mr. Ban has dispatched UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes to Kenya, and he is scheduled to arrive in Nairobi tomorrow for a three-day mission to assess the humanitarian situation in the country.