Kenya: Marsabit Unrest - Information Bulletin n° 1

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In Brief

This Information Bulletin no. 1/2005 is being issued for information only. While the Federation is not seeking funding or other assistance from donors for this operation at this time, the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has issued a local Preliminary Appeal seeking contributions of Ksh 53,935,600 (equivalent to USD 707,000, EUR 587,000, or CHF 915,000) to support some 3,000 affected people in Marsabit for six months, as well as to replenish contingency stocks.

The Situation

On 12 July 2005, following conflict between the Borana and Gabra communities, over 70 people were killed and 3,000 were displaced in Torbi Centre, Maikona Location, approximately 125 kilometers from Marsabit town,. A subsequent cycle of revenge and retaliation actions between the two communities have raised the death toll to 90. The total number of displaced people has now increased to 6,200, and a considerable amount of property has been destroyed.

As of 16 July, and according to the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), the situation is still volatile and tense, with the possibility of an escalation of the conflict. High tension is reported in Maikona, Kalacha and North Horr areas of Marsabit where about 1,000 people have moved to seek protection and assistance at the Administration Police camp. Most people have refused to go back to their homes fearing further attacks.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

The KRCS responded swiftly within 24 hours of the attacks to assist the victims of the conflict. On 13 July, the national society coordinated the airlifting of 9 critically wounded people from Marsabit to Nairobi to receive specialized medical attention. This followed a recommendation in Marsabit by a joint mission led by the KRCS, and involving the National Operation Centre (Office of the President) and the Kilifi District Commissioner, who were on the ground on 13 July.

On 14 July, the national society dispatched the following relief items (estimated value Ksh 2,939,550) to Marsabit from its available stocks:

- 1,700 bags of maize flour;

- 80 bags of beans;

- 12 tons of unimix;

- 2,250 litres of cooking oil;

- 600 blankets;

- 1,200 bars of soap;

- 300 kitchen sets;

- 600 jerry cans;

- assorted medication;

- 30 body bags;

- 50 stretchers;

- 300 mattresses and 400 bed sheets.

Further supplies were transported on 16 July consisting of: 210 bed sheets, 300 mosquito nets, 300 mattresses, 1,440 bags of unimix, 30 body bags, and 3 cartons of drinking water.

The above items were sent in three relief truckloads to assist 3,000 people. The Society's ambulance was also dispatched and is currently being used to transport injured people from the ongoing conflict spots to Marsabit District Hospital. 10 Red Cross volunteers and technical staff have been deployed to monitor the situation and respond with humanitarian assistance.

On 15 July 2005, the Society launched a Preliminary Appeal through the Rapid Onset Disaster Committee for Ksh 53,935,600 million to support the affected people in Marsabit for six months, as well as to replenish contingency stocks. The appeal and budget will be updated following coordination and planning meetings in the Rapid Onset Disaster Committee (and as events evolve). Assessments to determine the scope and magnitude of the humanitarian intervention among the affected communities and their immediate needs are ongoing. The KRCS national appeal is accessible by hyperlink.


Further to the Society's Appeal, cash and in-kind donations have been received, including support from

- Action Aid: 10MT of unimix, 300 mattress, 300 blankets, 300 mosquito nets and 210 bed sheets worth Ksh 1,259,700.

- World Food Programme: 48MT of unimix/CSB (estimated value approximately Ksh 1.5 million).

- UNICEF: 1 emergency medical kit, 5 cartons of high energy biscuit, 5 education kits and 500 mosquito nets (estimate value approximately Ksh 800,000).

The national society was able to mobilize and airlift 48 units of blood to Marsabit District Hospital, with support from the National Blood Transfusion Services. As a result of its response, the Kenya Red Cross is enjoying high and favourable media coverage. The national society has also opened a bank account for cash donations from wellwishers.

The Kenya Red Cross Society is working closely with all partners and stakeholders, with support from the International Federation and the ICRC. The Society is the co-chair of the Rapid Onset Disaster Committee, which comprises the Office of the President (Chair), the Kenya Red Cross Society (Co-Chair), UNICEF, UNDP, WFP, Action Aid, World Vision, CIDRI, Ministries of Health, Special Programmes and Agriculture, and Meteorological Department. Two coordination meetings with partners on the Marsabit conflict were held on 13 and 14 July 2005. Further coordination meetings are scheduled on 18 July 2005 at the national society's headquarters.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

Dr. Asha Mohamed, Deputy Secretary General, Kenya Red Cross Society, Email Phone; Fax

Anitta Underlin, Nairobi Regional Head of Regional Delegation, Kenya Email; Phone; Fax

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at