"As of yesterday, we have over 1,000 people (dead) including the latest killings in Kisii, Migori and other places over the weekend," Kenya Red Cross spokesman Tony Mwangi said.
The figure of 304,000 refugees did not include displacements over recent days and so would probably rise, he said.
Most of the deaths, in one of Kenya's darkest moment since independence from Britain 44 years ago, have come from cycles of ethnic killings and police clashes with protesters.
The internal humanitarian crisis is a shock to Kenyans, more used to receiving refugees from neighbouring hot-spots like Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia. (Reporting by Wangui Kanina; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Richard Balmforth)
Jenny's Version: (based on information gathered from the Kenyan Red Cross and UNICEF websites)
Kenya, a country in Africa with around 36 million residents, is experiencing a political upheaval the likes of which it has not seen in 60 years. Basically the December 27th elections showed evidence of irregularities and tampering. And since the election was a very close race, the disputed results have led to the beginning of an internal civil war between the two opposition parties (who, in reality, are two different tribes now fighting each other...some are dubbing this an 'ethnic cleansing'). Kenyans say it feels like the death of their democracy.
Kenyans, especially children and women, suffer from poverty, chronic malnutrition, AIDS, and a lack of clean water. But in comparison with their neighbors in Sudan, Tanzania, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Uganda they have enjoyed relative peace and stability. This recent wave of violence has been especially surprising because Kenya has stood as a beacon of peace in Eastern Africa for so long. Now, a nation that usually takes in refugees from other African countries has its own refugees. Its own citizens are running from the violence and are leaving behind their homes, food, medicine, and safety causing Kenya to experience one of it's most violent, deadly, and complicated humanitarian aide crisis' in centuries. The rape rate has more than doubled and almost tripled in the past month alone. Thousands of kids are missing school. And over 300,000 people are stranded. The main problem: feeding and housing the displaced women and children.
UNICEF, “We’ve come through several days of some of the most atrocious violence against children and women that Kenya has ever seen,” UNICEF Kenya Chief of Communication Sara Cameron said. “We’ve got thousands of people who’ve fled from their homes because they’ve been set on fire, because they’ve been attacked, because they’ve been threatened or because they’re afraid,” Ms. Cameron said.
The New York Times reported this week that, "Reports of beatings, hackings and burnings are widespread. In one incident, 19 women and children were reportedly burned alive in their house."
The UN is estimating that as many as 500,000 may need long-term assistance and there are fears that the unrest could affect humanitarian operations in neighboring countries. Right now there are three hundred displacement camps in Kenya taking in people affected by the violence. Over 80,000 people at these refugee sites are children under the age of five.
That's a lot of precious children.
UNICEF is feeding 70 per cent of these children with UNIMIX, a high-protein porridge that helps prevent malnutrition. Sara Cameron, UNICEF spokeswoman in Kenya said, “This is in many ways a protection crisis for a generation of Kenya’s children. Even if peace comes tomorrow, it’s going to take years for the country to recover.”
And that, in a nutshell, is what is happening in Kenya.