IRC Delivers Aid to Increasing Numbers of Displaced in Kenya's Kitale Region
It is now estimated that more than 250,000 people have become displaced by the crisis in the course of a month.
The International Rescue Committee has started emergency services at sites in and around Kitale where some 40,000 people have taken refuge.
IRC aid teams are working closely with the Kenyan Red Cross to register displaced families and identify particularly vulnerable people with special needs, including the elderly, pregnant women and mothers with newborns.
To prevent the spread of disease, IRC teams have started fixing water pumps, building latrines and bathing facilities at the camps, setting up cleaning patrols and working with volunteers to deliver hygiene messages.
Kellie Leeson, director of IRC programs in Kenya, says the IRC is also working on improving safety at the settlements, especially for women. "We are procuring more lights and also small fuel-efficient stoves so that women don't leave the area in search of firewood. That makes them vulnerable to assaults." In the meantime, the IRC is delivering 30 tons of firewood to several displacement sites in the Kitale area.
Outside the camps, it's harder to reach people with needed aid. Many roads are blocked and the streets are dangerous. Yesterday, an IRC team was able to distribute food donated by the Kenyan Government and Red Cross to a group of 250 people, more than half children, who are stranded in the volatile community of Kapcherop. IRC emergency team leader Alan Manski is there and is working on plans to relocate the Kapcherop community to a safer area and ensure they have needed supplies, like blankets and tents.
“Violence is escalating in several areas and there is a lot of movement going on in every direction,” says Manski. “People are fleeing fast with little or no belongings as their homes are being torched.”
In the initial weeks of the crisis, IRC teams delivered soap, food and other emergency items to displaced people on the outskirts of Nairobi and in other areas where people are seeking refuge in the Rift Valley.
Photos and commentary by IRC senior policy adviser Anna Husarska from the frontline of the IRC's relief work.