Kenya violence hampers humanitarian work

Kenya's spiralling descent into violence and chaos is hampering the work of Tearfund staff and partners in the country.

In the worst affected areas workers have been confined to their houses due to rioting and looting. Nationally hundreds of people are dead and tens of thousands are fleeing for their lives.

As concerns grow about the security situation, Tearfund has joined forces with other aid agencies to work out what the humanitarian needs are.

The violence follows the victory of incumbent president Mwai Kibaki and claims by opposition rival Raila Odinga that he was denied the presidency due to vote rigging.

The consequences have been widespread ethnic tension as the Kikuyu (Kibaki's tribe) and the Luo (Odinga's tribe) have clashed.

One of the most brutal acts reported so far has been the killing of at least 30 people taking shelter in a church that was set alight by a mob.

Reports suggest many people in the Eldoret area have been displaced and are in need of food, water and shelter. Ugandan officials also tell of families fleeing across the border.

Britain and the United States have expressed concern about the election result after international observers noted irregularities. The African Union is sending its chairman to Nairobi to broker a political settlement.

Religious leaders from across the Christian church and Muslim faith in Kenya have responded as one, meeting Mr Kibaki and urging him towards reconciliation with Mr Odinga.

Kenya's insecurity has made the assessment of humanitarian needs difficult. The need for stability is pressing, underlined by the worrying proliferation of road blocks run by vigilantes.

It is feared that these roadblocks will have an effect on the distribution of food and humanitarian supplies if they are allowed to continue.

Another flashpoint may come on Thursday 3rd January amid predictions that a million people could turn out for an opposition rally in Nairobi. If it goes ahead, a resultant crackdown will almost certainly fan the flames of further unrest.

Your prayers for Kenya are needed. Please pray:

That the ethnic violence and killing between the Luo and the Kikuyu will stop.

That diplomatic pressure helps secure a peaceful end to the political impasse.

That Tearfund staff and partners would be kept safe.

And that the right leader for Kenya would have his position confirmed and that the country would be able to accept the result.

For further information please contact:

Abby King, Tearfund on 020 8943 7936 or 07939 120545

Jonathan Spencer, Tearfund on 020 8943 7901 or 07767 473516

Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency working with a global network of local churches to help eradicate poverty. Our ten-year vision is to see 50 million people released from material and spiritual poverty through a worldwide network of 100,000 local churches.