UK charities, Canada to mobilize Kenyan aid



The British Red Cross has called on the international community to help provide relief to thousands in Kenya after the reelection of President Mwai Kibaki spurred on a wave of violence in the country, driving people from their homes. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has already implored Kenya’s leaders to “urgently” arrange talks to bring a halt to the bloodshed. “We have been working night and day behind the scenes to see what we can do to bring the sides together,” he said.

Wubeshet Woldermariam of the U.K.-based charity group Merlin warned, however, that the humanitarian crisis in the East African state has not abated. “Seven days into the crisis, food and clean water supplies are now running dangerously low, especially in and around Kisumu,” Woldermariam said. “The longer the crisis continues, the greater the risk to people’s health. If peace isn’t restored within the next few days, disease and severe dehydration are very real threats.” In response to the crisis, the organization has begun vaccinating Kenyan children to protect them from measles, and has also started supplying clean water and providing mosquito nets to ward off malaria.

The Canadian government has also joined the effort at helping Kenyans recover from the recent spate of violence by pitching in nearly USD1 million in emergency aid. The money will be used to provide medical supplies, food, potable water, and shelter. “Canada is very concerned about the number of Kenyans displaced in their own country because of this violence and lawlessness,” said International Cooperation Minister Beverley Oda. Canadian foreign affairs minister Maxine Bernier also expressed great distress over the developments in Kenya. “”Reports that violence is ethnically driven, and in some cases targets women and children, are alarming,” she said. “Canadians are shocked at the horrific deaths of people taking refuge in an Eldoret church, as well as at the loss of life elsewhere in Kenya.”

Sources:
UK charities in Kenya aid push (BBC News)
Canada pledges USD1 million in aid for Kenya (CBC News)

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