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More Refugees Flee Kenya


The U.N. refugee agency reports more than 6,000 Kenyans have crossed the border into Uganda. The government of Uganda, the Ugandan Red Cross, and U.N. agencies are providing security and relief to the refugees who have been fleeing the post-election violence that erupted in Kenya last month. Lisa Schlein reports from UNHCR headquarters in Geneva.

Although the turbulent situation in Kenya is settling down, people are still fleeing to neighboring Uganda in search of a safe haven.

U.N. Refugee spokesman Ron Redmond says the Kenyans have entered Uganda through various crossings and are now gathered in several eastern border cities.

"They are staying in schools and other public facilities or with relatives and friends," said Redmond. "The Ugandan authorities want to move the refugees to a temporary site in Mulanda and we will provide transportation from the border sites to that proposed government site."

In Kenya, the UNHCR cares for about 270,000 refugees from elsewhere in Africa. It also sends aid through Kenya to hundreds of thousands of other refugees in several neighboring countries.

Following the post-election riots last month, the distribution of aid within and outside Kenya was stalled.

But, Redmond says the security situation in Kenya has stabilized and relief operations for refugees throughout the region are going ahead normally.

He says the UNHCR is focusing on getting help to many of the more than 200,000 internally displaced people in Kenya. He says the UNHCR has sent a team of 10 emergency staff to the capital, Nairobi, to assist in this effort.

"As calm returns to some parts of the country, the government estimates that IDP numbers in sites and community centers across Kenya have dropped by nearly 50,000, from 255,000 at the beginning of last week, to an estimated 203,000 by the end of the week," Redmond said.

"The government estimates there are approximately 500 internal displacement sites, scattered mainly in the Rift Valley, western Nyanza and Nairobi provinces," he added.

Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration says it is working with the Kenyan authorities and the Kenya Red Cross to establish two new sites for displaced people. They will be located on the outskirts of the town of Eldoret in the Rift Valley, the area worst affected by the post-election violence.