Kenya

CRWRC extends emergency aid to Kenyans displaced by violence

Displaced Kenyans are receiving six months of emergency food aid after being forced back to the drought-parched Rift Valley in their homeland. Ongoing ethnic violence stemming from election disputes a year ago is putting the lives of Kenyans from the Turkana region in jeopardy again.

"The post-election violence of 2008 has changed this country," says Ron Fuller, a relief manager overseeing the distribution for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee. "The situation cannot be easily reversed, and the country is suffering as a result."

More than eighteen thousand Kenyans who have returned to Turkana, a large region in northwestern Kenya on the Ugandan border, are receiving maize, peas, and vegetable oil through CRWRC (www.crwrc.org). The food is being distributed by ten parishes of CRWRC's partner, the Reformed Church of East Africa. The $143,000 grant was awarded to CRWRC through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

In the last decade, annual droughts have forced Turkana Kenyans to migrate from their region to more profitable areas of the country in hope of a better life. Since the contested re-election of President Mwai Kibaki early last year, and scant movement since toward creation of a key post for opposition leader Raila Odinga, the Turkana people have been among those targeted for attack, theft, and arson. Those who could escape the violence fled for their homeland, further taxing the current residents, who were already scrounging food from the dry ground; only three percent of the Turkana region is suitable for growing crops.

CRWRC has been present in Kenya since 1983 and currently partners with four Christian organizations to respond to needs among the country's poorest residents with relief, justice, and development programs that improve lives and livelihoods in a country where more than 40 percent live below the poverty line. While CRWRC's development programs in conflict areas are affected by violence, relief projects are ongoing and adjusted for security needs.

Members of the Press can contact Jacob Kramer, CRWRC international relief director, at cell 905-515-1720 or 1-800-730-3490, or CRWRC media contact Beth DeGraff at cell 616-648-7821 or 1-800-55-CRWRC for more information about CRWRC in Kenya. Donations for "Kenya Conflict" can be made online at www.crwrc.org, by calling 1-800-55-CRWRC, or mailing a designated check to CRWRC, 2850 Kalamazoo Avenue, SE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49560-0600.

CRWRC is a non-profit agency of the Christian Reformed Church in North America ministering in development, relief, and justice education with people in need in 30 countries around the world since 1963.

Beth DeGraff, Media Contact, cell 616-648-7821
Jacob Kramer, International Relief Director, cell 905-515-1720