Among the populations targeted under the Plan are the Internally Displaced Persons as a result of the post election violence. An estimated 4,211 IDPs remain in camps and an estimated 54,000 people are living in 121 transit sites. Continued assistance is required to facilitate durable solutions for those majorities who have yet to re-establish their homes and livelihoods. Secretary General for the Kenya Red Cross Abbas Gullet noted that, "although the thrust of humanitarian activities in 2008 has been in responding to the needs of IDPs, there are number of other emergencies that also require an equal amount of attention". Multiple factors have affected livelihoods and food security in many parts of the country. Climatic shocks - including drought and floods - rising food and commodity prices, reduced cereal production and livestock diseases have converged to increase food insecurity among many vulnerable populations, including pastoralists in arid and semi-arid areas, coastal lowland areas and amongst the urban poor. An estimated 1.4 million are currently receiving food assistance. A lack of adequate water and pasture in affected parts of the arid and semi arid regions has also contributed to an escalation in conflicts as communities compete for increasingly scarce resources. In October 2008, both Mandera and Turkana Districts were affected by substantial flooding: more than 9,600 people were displaced by floods and inter-clan conflict in Mandera and there was serious crop damage and significant loss of livestock in Turkana.
Regionally, Kenya's porous borders have witnessed continued refugee flows. The deterioration in the situation in Somalia precipitated increased movements of Somalis over the border into Kenya. This influx adds to a refugee population which already far exceeds the capacity of existing refugee camps. Due to the continuing crisis in Somalia, new arrivals are expected to continue during 2009, increasing the strain on existing refugee support mechanisms.
In light of the continued need to support post-election affected populations, those affected by climatic shocks, food and livelihood insecurity, and growing numbers of refugees, humanitarian organisations have developed a coordinated multi-sector approach to humanitarian assistance. In presenting the Plan, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Aeneas Chuma noted, "the appeal outlines the humanitarian community's plans for collective response in 2009 to address humanitarian needs and assist early recovery needs". Funding will allow essential support to an estimated 1.6 million people over the course of next year.
During 2008, humanitarian actors have faced a multitude of challenges due to the changing nature of humanitarian needs in the country. Minister of State for Special Programmes, Naomi Shaaban noted that, "timely and effective response should form a core component of any humanitarian plan". In 2008, stakeholders have worked together to respond flexibly to new developments, despite the many competing priorities. Thanks to the generous support of donors, a total of $259.8 million has been committed to humanitarian action in Kenya.
"Humanitarian action is the face of humanity and regardless of race or creed all partners should collaborate to respond to the humanitarian needs in the country", said Minister of Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands, Hon. Ibrahim Elmi Mohmed. Head of UN OCHA in Kenya, Jeanine Cooper noted that 2008 has seen unprecedented collaboration in humanitarian action. Aid agencies and government are capitalizing on this spirit of collaboration to strategize, prioritize and plan for 2009. The culmination of this is the spirit of jointness embodied at this launch with the international and national partners, the Kenya Red Cross and the Government of Kenya.
For more information please contact: Luluwa Ali; United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Kenya; Tel: +254-20-7625146; Cell: +254-727-532144
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.