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UNICEF ready with critical supplies for children affected by unrest in Kenya

NAIROBI, 4 January 2008 - As roads begin opening in Kenya and transport becomes possible, UNICEF is working with the Kenya Red Cross to send essential supplies to children affected by the violence due to political upheaval. Throughout the country, an estimated 500,000 people may need humanitarian assistance.  The majority are women and children, says UNICEF.

After four days of violence, the number of reported dead is more than 300 including up to 50 children who perished in a church in the town of Eldoret which was set ablaze by rioters. The violence has affected much of the country including in the highly-populated slums in the capital, Nairobi. The Kenya Red Cross describes the Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza provinces as experiencing a complete breakdown of law and order.

Humanitarian needs include food, water, shelter, sanitation, medical supplies and protection.  “Safe spaces” for mothers and children must be set up to protect them from violence.  There have been reports of sexual violence against children and women in the affected areas. In addition, there is an acute shortage of fuel as many petrol stations have been looted or destroyed by rioters.

Much of the affected population were already suffering from a chronic lack of food and medicines before the violence broke out and live in some of the poorest parts of the country. There is also concern that the unrest will impact humanitarian programmes in neighbouring countries. Transport corridors from the port of Mombasa have been restricted, causing the disruption of supplies to UN peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in southern Sudan, Uganda and parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

UNICEF Action:

Nutrition: To reduce malnutrition among the displaced populations in the worst affected areas, targeting 50,000 children and 5,600 pregnant and lactating mothers.

Health: To provide emergency health supplies and establish a disease outbreak early warning system.

Child protection: To establish Safe Spaces for displaced mothers and children. These spaces provide a safe haven where children can be protected from violence and where their health needs can be addressed. The opening of schools in Kenya has been postponed until the 15 of January due to unrest.

Shelter: To distribute 15,000 family kits including blankets, plastic sheeting, cooking sets, soap and jerry cans. These kits will supply up to 100,000 people.

Water and sanitation: To provide water and sanitation to over 100,000 displaced people.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information please contact:

Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York, Tel: +212 326 7426, pmccormick@unicef.org
Miranda Eeles, UNICEF Geneva, Tel: +41 22 909 5715, meeles@unicef.org
Sara Cameron, UNICEF Kenya, Tel: + 254(0)207622977, scameron@unicef.org





UNICEF Radio correspondent Michael Kavanagh talks to 22-year-old Digital Diarist Fatuma Roba about her experience in the post-election conflict in Kibera, Kenya.
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