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UNHCR Assists 100,000 Displaced in Kenya


The UN refugee agency is one of a growing number of international agencies to step up humanitarian assistance to people displaced by the violence that followed the December 27 Presidential election in Kenya. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from UNHCR headquarters in Geneva the agency says it will send relief supplies for up to 100,000 displaced Kenyans.

The United Nations estimates about one-quarter of a million people have been Valley and in areas around Nairobi. He says a large number of people in the Rift Valley fled in panic from the ethnic clashes and took nothing with them.

He says it is critical to get shelter material to them as quickly as possible because they have no homes and are living in awful makeshift camps or in public facilities.

He says thousands of people around Nairobi, especially in the slum areas, have had their houses completely destroyed. They too are in need of shelter material and basic supplies.

Redmond says the UNHCR has enough stocks for 50,000 people in its warehouse in Nairobi. He says additional supplies of shelter materials, plastic sheeting, cooking kits and other basic items will be flown in from Dubai and Tanzania..

"Some of the supplies we are talking about are fairly bulky," he said. "Things like tents and plastic sheeting. It is going to take truckloads of the stuff out-tons of stuff. And, we will have to ensure also that the roads are safe...Some of the life-saving supplies that are going out are being escorted by police or military. So, getting these supplies out into some of the areas that have been most affected is a pretty dicey operation."

Redmond says the UNHCR is concerned that Kenyans might flee to neighboring countries if the unrest continues. So far, he says, there have not been any large movements.

He notes a UNHCR monitoring team in Uganda reported some 2,000 Kenyans had crossed into Uganda on Saturday. But, he adds, the situation appears to have stabilized and is under control.

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