The World Food Program is busy feeding many Kenyans whose food supply has been disrupted by the political turmoil and violence. Peter Smerdon is a spokesperson for the WFP in Nairobi. He tells VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the latest efforts in Kenya to feed those in need.
“Currently, food distributions are underway for the second time in Nairobi slums, four of them, to 76,800 people today (Tuesday), which is on top of a different 50,000 people that we reached in the slums last Thursday. It’s the World Food Program providing…high-energy biscuits, vegetable oil and corn soya blend and the government providing the cereals, maize in this case, to the Nairobi slums. The Nairobi slums, we wanted to get another distribution in today (Tuesday) ahead of what we expect to be demonstrations on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Because the slums do need food. I was down in the slums today (Tuesday) and many women said that they had not been able to work since trouble began on December the 30th; and quite a few of them said that their homes and/or businesses had been burned down by marauding gangs, mostly during the night,” he says.
The WFP also is distributing food outside of Nairobi. Smerdon says, “We are feeding people in the northern Rift Valley, Western Kenya and Nyanza and Kisumu, where there was a lot of violence at the start of the demonstrations about a week ago, but things have calmed down there. But there has been a mass displacement of people. More than 100,000 people are estimated to be displaced in the northern Rift alone. Many of those people are moving out and moving to areas where they feel they will be safer.”
During the violence, many groups had set up roadblocks preventing people and supplies from getting to their destinations. However, Smerdon says, “That problem has pretty much cleared up in the last week. Basically, the army went along the road removing roadblocks. Fuel tankers, WFP food in trucks and commercial trucks had been delayed and trapped for several days…but the army has done a good job of removing those roadblocks and now traffic is moving smoothly,” he says.