OCHA Kenya Humanitarian Update vol. 17, 24 – 30 Apr 2008

OCHA Kenya Humanitarian Update vol. 17, 24 – 30 Apr 2008


HIGHLIGHTS

– Leaders tour Rift Valley Province to preach peace and promote reconciliation Talks on institutional reforms under Agenda Four resume

– 11,953 IDPs in Turkana District need more assistance

– Government approves transitional shelter kit

– UN appeals for $17 million for new arrivals from Somalia

I. General Overview

During their three-day tour of Rift Valley Province, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga encouraged communities to reconcile so that displaced people could return home and farm to alleviate the looming food crisis. MPs from Rift Valley province have put forward their own pre-conditions for the resettlement and return of IDPs which are: 1) for suspects arrested for participating in the post-election to be released, 2) for those displaced from Mau Summit during President Kibaki.s first term to be resettled and 3) the termination of the military operation in Mount Elgon. They feel all of these actions are unfairly targeting the wider Kalenjin community. Nevertheless, the visit is seen as a positive step as it shows the issue of return and resettlement is high on the political agenda.

Mediated talks on long-term constitutional, institutional and legal reforms, known as Agenda Four, resumed. The reforms aim to resolve the underlying causes of Kenya.s political crisis. A Commission of Inquiry on Post-Election Violence will be officially established on 1 May, chaired by Kenyan Court of Appeal Judge Philip Waki. A draft bill to establish a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission is being finalized. The commission will investigate human rights violations, economic crimes, including corruption and historical land injustices, committed since independence.

The chairman and the treasurer of the outlawed Mungiki sect were shot dead on 28 April. Analysts believe that the sect is experiencing a power struggle over its leadership. As a result of these recent killings, the sect cancelled its first planned reconciliatory meeting with church and government officials.

Floods have displaced at least 38 families in Homa Bay and Nyando districts in Nyanza Province. The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) is responding with blankets, mosquito nets, food, aquatabs, cholera kits, shelter materials and medical treatment.

The information contained in this report has been compiled by OCHA from information received from the field, from national and international humanitarian partners and from other official sources. It does not represent a position from the United Nations.

II. Humanitarian Situation

Oxfam, KRCS and UNICEF have appealed for greater attention to be paid to the needs of 11,953 IDPs, most of whom fled to their „ancestral lands. in Turkana District from Rift Valley as a result of the post-election violence. An additional 15 families were displaced by violent rains in Lokori in Turkana South District earlier this month. The most critical needs are for food and medical assistance and the response so far has been slow. Ad hoc assistance has been given by UNICEF (non-food items), Oxfam, the Diocese of Lodwar (food), World Vision (blankets and mosquito nets), KRCS (635 bales of flour) and WFP (food for 1,300 IDPs).

The District Commissioner from Turkana has taken responsibility for providing food for all IDPs through the KRCS. The challenge is to target IDPs living outside of camps as many people in the district are food insecure. Camps are being formed to attract assistance. It is likely they will become a draw for other vulnerable groups seeking assistance. Family kits (blankets, mosquito nets, soap, cooking utensils), shelter, water and sanitation facilities are in short supply. For example, in Kanamkemer Camp in Lodwar, 2,144 people are sharing two latrines. A coordination body has been formed, comprising KRCS, UNICEF, Diocese of Lodwar, World Vision and Merlin, to assess and report on the situation.

A new Emergency Operation (EMOP) is beginning in Turkana District because of an impending drought. The EMOP is intended to cater for IDPs among the increased number of beneficiaries from 88,000 to 160,000. UNICEF is giving nutritional support to some IDPs through its programme for all children under five and pregnant and lactating mothers but other family members also need support.

The Overseas Development Institute, UK-based think tank, published a policy briefing Crisis in Kenya: land, displacement and the search for ‘durable solutions’ on 24 April. Its key messages were that humanitarians need to engage with land specialists to ensure that their programming does not exacerbate tensions and is consistent with efforts to address the structural causes of conflict. It noted that return, relocation and local integration should not be promoted as durable solutions in the absence of serious attempts to resolve land-related grievances. Durable solutions must also take into account IDPs from previous earlier waves of displacement. It identifies lack of data about IDPs outside camps as a ‘significant failing’.

For more information, please contact:

Jeanine Cooper: Head of OCHA Kenya, +254 (20)7625155,jeanine.cooper@undp.org;

Rania Dagash, Desk Officer, Africa I Section, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 3668, Dagash@un.org;

Christina Bennett, Spokesperson and Public Information Officer, OCHA-New York: +1 917 367 8059, +1 917 435 8617 (mobile), bennett1@un.org;

Elisabeth Byrs, Public Information Officer, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, byrs@un.org

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