Kenya: Over 3,000 displaced by Tana River clashes

NAIROBI, 12 December (IRIN) - Food insecurity for over 3,000 people displaced by two weeks of violent clashes in Tana River District, eastern Kenya, was increasing as the threat of further violence meant they were unable to access their farms or find pasture for their cattle, UNOCHA Kenya reported on Tuesday.
Many of the 3,405 displaced persons, particularly members of the agriculturalist Pokomo community, were in urgent need of food aid, emergency healthcare, clothes and cooking utensils, and at least three months food rationing was needed for the populations of Chara, Ngao, Oda, Ozi and Kilelengwani locations, OCHA said in its situation report for November.

Assistance to improve water supply and sanitation to people living in makeshift "camps" was required, particularly as heavy rainfall had raised the risk of a cholera outbreak, the report warned. Clothes, cooking utensils, and building materials were also needed for those whose homes had been burned down in the clashes, it added.

More than 50 people have been killed over the last week in clashes between the pastoralist Orma and Pokomo communities resulting from competing claims over land and water resources.

While the Pokomo accuse the Orma of allowing livestock to encroach on their farms and of destroying their crops, the Orma complain that Pokomo farmlands are too close to the banks of the Tana River and prevent the herders from using the river to water their cattle. Since December 2000, when a controversial land adjudication programme triggered the conflict, some 130 people have died in repeated clashes between the two communities.

According to OCHA, some 50 militia may have been recruited from neighbouring Somalia to provide support to the Orma. "Tensions are still high", OCHA said.


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