Montreal - Development and Peace is contributing $50,000 from its emergency fund to assist in the Caritas Internationalis rapid response effort to help Kenyans affected by post election violence in Kenya. The worldwide Caritas appeal amount has been set at $2,665,000 to help those driven from their homes by the violence that has swept through Kenya after the December 2007 general election. Development and Peace is the Canadian representative of the international confederation of Catholic aid agencies from 162 countries that comprise Caritas Internationalis.
Clashes across the country have seen people were attacked, homes and businesses burnt down and property looted and destroyed. It is estimated over 650 people have been killed and thousands injured; some 255,000 people have fled their homes and a further 3,650 have sought refuge in Uganda's Tororo region. Some 180,000 people require immediate humanitarian aid in the northern Rift Valley alone, and estimates suggest 250,000 homeless people will need help within the next three months.
Caritas Kenya's Emergency Coordinator Stephen Kituku said: "The majority of people don't have enough food or shelter and many are sleeping in churches or police stations. Many of those affected are women and children".
The money contributed by Development and Peace will go towards helping 30,000 people in Rift Valley, Nyanza, Western, Nairobi, Central and Coastal provinces as part of the combined efforts of the CI network and includes.
- Enabling access to water and food (including
maize, oil and sugar), especially to those most at risk, such as children,
pregnant women and the sick.
- Providing temporary shelter and items
such as sleeping mats, blankets, clothing mosquito nets and cooking utensils.
- Ensuring people have access to clean
water and hygiene items, includes distributing soap, sanitary items for
women and buckets.
- In addition, reconciliation and peace-building initiatives have been incorporated into the aid programme, such as providing counselling to adults and children, helping mediation between communities, setting up solidarity groups and broadcasting peace and conciliation messages on local radio.
Kenya's bishops have added their voices to calls for peace and further dialogue. A statement from the Kenya Episcopal Conference said: "We wish to express our support of the ongoing mediation efforts. We add our voice to the call of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to our leaders to seek dialogue. We believe that these talks will help the truth to come out about the contested election results because on this truth justice shall be built."
Development and Peace is the official international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada and the Canadian representative of Caritas Internationalis. For more than 40 years, Development and Peace has worked directly with organizations made up of or representing the poor and marginalized in the Global South, and provided in excess of $500 million to 15,000 projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. We are presently active with over 200 partners in 33 countries. In Canada, we are a democratic movement for international solidarity - educating the public about the root causes of poverty and mobilizing social action for change - with 13,000 members from coast to coast.
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