Kenya Red Cross: "The lack of accessibility is a major concern," says Abbas Gullet

As violence continues in Kenya around the outcome of the presidential election, Kenya Red Cross is responding by helping affected people throughout the country. Abbas Gullet, Secretary-General of the Kenya Red Cross Society, speaks briefly about the crisis from Nairobi, as he helps to coordinate relief efforts in the capital.

Is the violence in Kenya still continuing?

Today (3 January 2007) has not been a good day in Nairobi with running battles between police and people on the streets following the government's banning of the planned opposition rally. Ambulances belonging to the Kenya Red Cross have been out on the streets of the city all morning picking up the injured and some dead bodies as well. According to reports, there continue to be pockets of violence in many other parts of the country as well.

What are the humanitarian consequences of this crisis throughout the country?

The consequences are dramatic and might even be described as catastrophic. A major concern is the lack of accessibility to many areas of the country. We are hoping and praying that the situation will become calmer and that the authorities will find a way through. In areas where the Kenya Red Cross can operate we have been evacuating the injured and recovering the dead. We are hoping that when things normalize a bit we will be able to broaden out activities to bring assistance to people.

What are the immediate priorities for Kenya Red Cross?

Medical assistance remains the priority for now. But we estimate that around 500,000 people country-wide have been uprooted by this violence. When there is improved access we will need to supply these people with food, water and shelter.