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Concern warns breakdown in talks could deepen humanitarian crisis

International aid agency Concern is warning that the breakdown in political negotiations could deepen the humanitarian crisis in Kenya.

The political opposition has pledged to resume nationwide protests this week following the collapse of the African Union mediated talks. According to official sources, post- electoral violence has claimed the lives of at least 600 people but this figure could exceed 1000. 250,000 have already fled their homes as a result of violent clashes and house burnings. Thousands are now taking shelter in church yards and schools and many are sleeping outdoors without shelter. 

Food Shortages

With the schools due to re-open this week, people will have to move from this temporary shelter and many are moving away from their homes and farms to areas where they feel more secure.  Many of those living in the Nairobi slums are facing food shortages as they have been unable to work or run their small market stalls because of the crisis. It is feared that the resumption of protests may result in a further rioting and violence.

Concern is currently responding to the needs of up to 15,000 displaced people in Western Kenya and up to 7,000 in the Nairobi slums. Working with local Kenyan partner organisations and missionaries, Concern is providing support for immediate food needs and blankets whilst assessing further short term needs and longer term needs for those who will remain displaced. It is likely displacement will continue for some time and longer term support will be needed as the situation develops. Concern is also supporting partners in the Kibera and Korogocho slums in Nairobi with food and financial support.

“Kenyan leaders must work together to restore the safety and security of ordinary people and engage in a genuine process of reconciliation to ensure the democratic and economic future of Kenya,” says Concern Overseas Director Paul O’Brien. “It is vital that a political solution be found as soon as possible to stop the spread of tribal violence and to end the suffering of the most vulnerable Kenyans such as women and children. The prospect of further unrest due to the breakdown of talks is a very worrying development.”

Concern has launched an appeal for support from the Irish public. Staff are working closely with other agencies such as the Kenya Red Cross to co-ordinate relief efforts effectively. Concern has received €500,000 from Irish Aid to support this immediate emergency response and long-term recovery.