About 100,000 people in Kenya need urgent relief


New York : The UN has said it was working with the Kenyan Red Cross Society to bring relief aid to an estimated 100,000 civilians living in the northern Rift Valley, caught by the post-election violence.

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The UN said Thursday the people needed immediate humanitarian assistance as they are stranded in the valley without food, shelter, water and essential medicines and protection.

The Kenyan Red Cross projected that the number of people needing help could increase to 500,000 across the country. The UN said the number was not confirmed and firm statistics were still not available.

The UN raised concerns Wednesday at the breakdown of law and order triggered by the official results of the presidential vote on Dec 27, which gave victory to the incumbent president even though polling beforehand projected a stronger showing by the challenger.

More than 300 Kenyans were killed by violence in the post-election period, including dozens trapped in a church set on fire by angry opposition supporters.

“The UN humanitarian agencies in Kenya are gearing up to do everything necessary to help displaced and needy Kenyans at this difficult time,” said John Holmes, the UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator.

“Meanwhile, all political leaders in Kenya have a responsibility to protect the lives and livelihoods of innocent people, regardless of their racial, religious or ethnic origin,” he said.

UN agencies involved in the relief aid include the World Food Programme and the UN Children’s Fund.