Kenya: Floods displace hundreds in Mandera town - 28 Oct 2008

Humanitarian Aid in Mandera: Appeal for Respect to Relief Agencies

Kenya Red Cross is providing humanitarian assistance to hundreds of people in Mandera District who were affected by flash floods and clan fighting. The interventions include provision of non-food items, medical services, water and sanitation facilities.

Mandera has faced a wave of disasters such as severe drought that has left over 115,000 people depending on relief aid. Early this month, over 5,000 people were displaced by flash floods that swept through Mandera town and its environs. The floods submerged 426 latrines and seven wells, causing acute shortage of water and sanitation-related problems.

Kenya Red Cross is working with the Government and various relief agencies in the region to address myriad problems facing the already vulnerable population. The district has also experienced sporadic clan clashes revolving around border disputes, access to water and other resources. Clan fighting in mid October 2008 left at least eight (8) people dead and 31 houses torched. Kenya Red Cross is attending to victims of the clan fighting, who require shelter, medical services and household items.

However, humanitarian assistance in Mandera District has encountered some setbacks. First, early this week, bandits attacked the Kenya Red Cross personnel who were returning from their work in Garissa, robbing them of their personal effects such as money and mobile phones. Most aid agencies have suspended their activities in the district citing security concerns.

Secondly, a security operation aimed at addressing insecurity started last weekend and has covered Lafey, Wargadud and Elwak areas in the district. Unfortunately, some Kenya Red Cross personnel have been affected in the operations, among them the Chairman of Mandera Branch who sustained injuries after being arrested while dressed in the Society's Red Jacket. Kenya Red Cross personnel are currently providing First Aid and transport services to people injured during today's security operations in Elwak Division. At least 35 people have been transported to Elwak Hospital for treatment.

We call upon all parties involved either in security operations or clan conflict in Mandera District, to respect the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross Movement, more so our personnel who are impartial and independent in their activities.