INJURED,TRAUMATIZED AND DESPERATE IDPs(INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS)
There are reports and concerns about partisan nature of aid distributions by Kenya Red Cross. When Jamhuri Park was full of Kikuyu IDPs, aid was distributed very quickly. Now that other groups are there, Red Cross says there isn’t enough staff to cook food.
When asked to provide unga(cornmeal) etc for IDP’s to cook, they stalled. The National Alliance of Churches is now in trying to help but also seems compromised.
In Tigoni, Luo communities and other ODM leaning groups were only provided with transport for themselves and had to leave all their possessions behind. Red Cross is saying it will only work in Govt approved camps.
All camps in Rift Valley are approved,why? because these camps are occupied by mostly kikuyus. But camps in Central province(PANU government supported ethnic group) are full of others and have yet to be recognized by the Govt as camps, meaning supplies and other relief not going there. So there are claims about bias in the treatment of IDPs even as the country is trying to heal. The government still seems ill-bent into stroking divisions among the communities even at this critical times. What a shame!
As efforts to evacuate internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Central Province continue, grim stories are told of killings, trauma and despair among the non-Kikuyu people herded in makeshift shelters. Below are narratives from rescue workers, friends and medical personnel on the ground.
A medical worker in Kisumu said:
The number of refugees from Central Province to Nyanza and Western Province is just increasing. I did not know that there were a lot of these people living there. About 500 people arrive daily by bus from Central Province to Kisumu. The Red Cross is doing a wonderful job. Some refugees are so much traumatised by the situation that they hardly talk about it. Some said that in Central Province, some road blocks were erected using heads of the Luo. The Mungiki (a banned sect) beheaded Luo men and used their heads on roads as barricades/road blocks. One Luo woman was given her husband’s head to take with her along the way, and she carried it up to a camp in Kisumu.
Some refugees gave birth in the buses evacuating them, while some in the camps; in fact life continues to spring even under worse conditions. The problem is so big that even the people working with those refugees are overstretched. They constantly budget for over 500 new people daily in terms of food and other items. There are Luos who know very well where their homes are, or where they should go, so they are provided with means of transport. Unfortunately, there are some who have lived in Central Province for over 25 years and hardly know the origins of their spouses or families. In cases where one or both parents have been killed, kids do not know where to go. There are camps at the Kisumu Municipal Stadium, Saint Steven’s Cathedral Church and some in Siaya District.
For those who know where they are heading, transport is offered to take them to parts of Western Kenya and Nyanza, like South Nyanza etc. They are also given a small amount of money for food to buy their children something along the way. The money is hardly enough for somebody to start a living with, if her/his home people do not assist further. Some necessary items are also bought for the newborns in the camps and at least some small things for their mothers (nappies and other hygienic products). The Red Cross is also supplying food. The toilets are mobile, but not enough; the sanitation is indescribable.
A rescue worker: from Tigoni to Kisumu said:
I have just come from the St. Stephen’s Cathedral Church where we didn’t sleep for 2 days while coordinating relief and transport for the IDPs. I travelled with the sick and tired from Tigoni in Limuru to Kisumu. I had a convoy of 13 buses and two trucks. I was later offered the best reception from a Kisumu medical doctor and his wife. My best regards to them.
I saw people who were cut with pangas (machetes). I heard stories of the slit throat and bared stomach. People who needed help from the Red Cross were being beaten by a Camp Manager right in front of my eyes. I couldn’t react and just offered help within my powers. Some Red Cross staff members stole food and refused to give the IDPs food in Tigoni and Kisumu. We heard stories from people who we affected and I must tell you that I have learnt a lot. Tomorrow I am going to follow up on those who promised us buses to carry more evacuees.
some reports coming from Kisumu said:
The situation is as sad as reported on the Luo language radio (Ramogi FM). There are people stranded in Naivasha Prison just because there is no vehicle to take them to their rural homes.
One Woman’s story: the husband passed away before the fracas and the body is lying at the mortuary - she does not have any means to transport the body to their rural home. She consulted the authorities, but the answer was: “that is a personal matter”.
I believe in miracles and one did happen - this woman was highlighted on KTN (Kenya Television Network). We have heard sad stories, but who is there to tell the tales? We do not have the machinery to tell or else it is rumours! I prayed when a friend of mine told me about this woman's story, then yesterday she was on TV. Whoever has a heart can go and help this woman with her children. What she wants is to go home with or without anything and be able to bury her husband: (transportation from Naivasha Maximum Prison).
People camping at Naivasha according to the special programmes minister have to wait. The government is still organising for transport to take them to other refugee camps. These people do not want to go to another refugee camp; they have their homes in rural areas - in Western Kenya, Kisumu, South Nyanza, Homa Bay etc.
There are situations where you cry when you see them. Who is promoting tribalism here? When the clashes started in the Rift Valley, people were flown to Nairobi – Lorries/trucks were there to ferry people. Have you asked how much has been used in ferrying and uplifting such people to safer places? Billions of shillings from our taxes. Are we all not paying taxes? We are not promoting tribalism. It’s the HAVES (rich people’s) game to promote the same tribalism.
There are people who were forced to walk from Naivasha to Ahero when they were attacked at night. They walked through the bushes for 3 days without food or water until they reached Ahero, almost 300 kilometres away. It is so, so sad if you hear the tales. There are children who lost their parents and they had never been to their rural homes since they were born. What they remembered their parents talking of is a local market. When both parents died, they walked from Nakuru through tea farms to Kericho, Narok, Kisii - then Homa Bay. One would ask why they had to pass through all these towns! IT WAS FEAR - FEAR OF HAVING SEEN THEIR PARENTS HACKED TO DEATH THEN BURNED - who could they turn to or trust? Maybe to ask in HOMA BAY the market their parents used to talk about! They survived all the cold nights, the animals - GOD IS GREAT ALL THE TIME!
I saw Kalonzo (our vice president) telling you guys out there to promote Kenya - Is he serious? He has never gone to any refugee camp; he has never sat down with these people to know what they are going through! I wonder what you guys in EU countries are promoting Kenya for? He was able to fly to London and not able to fly to Kisumu, Rift Valley, Kisii and Homa Bay to calm the violence. Has he ever come out and asked what people are fighting for, yet we have ‘a good secured government’ in place? Or have I just missed his article?
We are hungry; we need food. We need our kids to go to school. We need back our jobs taken away from us, because we belong to another tribe. We need security. We need freedom. They are not affected in any way because they have their jobs; they have cash to run them for sometime/years! They have security to guard them and their children 24/7!
Let us preach peace in a good way. It is not Raila or Kibaki; it is the anger; it is the pain; it is the hunger; it is the jobs we are losing; it is death we are seeing with our own eyes; it is the lack of security; it is the old fashioned way of running our country; it is the lack of medicine when you belong to a certain region/community. Why can't they be asked about this?
For the poor, death is better than going through this - give them food and they will stop the violence; give them back their jobs and they will stop the violence; treat them equally in the eyes of the Lord; they will know they deserve living and stop violence, and have a place in the same community. Let them know there is hope and future for them; they will stop the violence; talk to them in a better way without tear gas and bullets, they will stop the violence.
They are people fighting to make their lives either better or worse; they do not have much to lose because they believe in poverty all their life - and no one to turn to. Let us preach peace!