Kenya

Kenya: Mt. Elgon Clashes - Information Bulletin No. 6

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The Kenya Red Cross Society's mission is to build capacity and respond with vigour, compassion and empathy to the victims of disaster and those at risk, in the most effective and efficient manner. It works closely with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 185 countries.

In Brief

This Information Bulletin (no. 6/2007) reflects the information available at this time. For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

Mr. Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, Kenya Red Cross Society, Email; gullet.abbas@kenyaredcross.org. Phone 254.20.60.35.93; 254.20.60.86.81/13 Fax 254.20.60.35.89

Mr. Ahmed Abdi, Head of Department, Disaster Preparedness and Response, Kenya Red Cross Society; Email abdi.ahmed@kenyaredcross.org Phone 254.20.60.35.93; 254.20.60.86.81 Fax 254.20.60.35.89

Mr. Anthony Mwangi, Public Relations Manager, Kenya Red Cross Society, Email; info@kenyaredcross.org . Phone 254.20.60.35.93; 254.20.60.86.81/13 Fax 254.20.60.35.89

All Kenya Red Cross Society 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 the Kenya Red Cross Society programmes or operations, or for a full description of the Society's profile, please access the Kenya Red Cross Society Website at http://www.kenyaredcross.org or the Federation's Website at http://www.ifrc.org

The Situation

Mt. Elgon is an administrative district in the western part of Kenya. The district is located on the south eastern slopes of Mt. Elgon and has Kapsokwony as its headquarters and Cheptais as its economic hub. The district has an area of 944 sq km with a population of 135,033 people. The district has only one constituency, Mt. Elgon.

Table below shows the administrative divisions (1999 census)

Divisions
Population
Cheptais
40,069
Kapsokwony
24,526
Kaptama
23,885
Kopsiro
45,964
Total
135,033


According to the Kenya Red Cross Society, a total of 66,000 people (11,000 families) have been affected as a result of land clashes in Mt. Elgon, along the Kenya-Uganda border, that erupted in December 2006. The current death toll from the clashes is 202; that is, 148 due to shooting and panga cut wounds, 36 people, mostly children, died of malnutrition, while 18 people have died due to diseases such as pneumonia, malaria, and upper respiratory infections etc, attributed to the cold Mt. Elgon weather. The wounded continue to their injuries in Bungoma and Mt. Elgon hospitals.

Most residents have been left extremely vulnerable, as their houses have been burned, food stocks destroyed and their livestock and livelihood threatened. Some of the IDPs have sought refuge in Kapsokwony and Kaptama divisions within the district and in the neighbouring districts of Bungoma, Teso and Busia. Chwele, Lwandanyi and Malakisi divisions of Bungoma district and Tamulega division in Teso District are also hosting the IDPs. There are also reports that over 6,000 people have fled into Uganda.

The most adversely affected areas in Bungoma District are Chwele, Malakisi, Mayanja, Tamlega, Sirisia, Lwandanyi, Tulienge, Machakha and Changara. In Mt. Elgon District, the affected areas are Cheptais, Tuikut, Kopsiro, Cheskaki, Kimabole, Kaptama, Kapsokwony and Chebyuk. The land clashes are concentrated in Kapsokwony, Tuikut and Kopsiro areas of Mt. Elgon. The situation on the ground has been changing daily with more displacements being recorded regularly. Security forces have been deployed to stabilise the situation. The IDPs are living mainly in market centres with their kinsmen or with relatives in nearby locations. Some have sought shelter in churches, schools, mosques and government institutions. Chances of families going back to their original homes are slim because of insecurity and destruction caused to their homes.

There are no current reports of unaccompanied minors - that is, children below 17 years old living alone - as the affected communities are caring for the children who are separated from their families. There is therefore a need to trace and re-unite the missing family members.