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Kenya: Ongoing assistance for victims of Wajir massacre

12-11-1998 News Release 98/38

The ICRC and the Kenya Red Cross Society have just surveyed the needs of people displaced following the massacre in the north-eastern part of the country two weeks ago. Some 6,500  individuals were included in the survey, 80% of whom were women and children. Most of them are living in the open or in makeshift dwellings. Food and other basic supplies have been distributed and essential drugs provided for the local hospital and dispensaries.

" Apart from food, water and medicine, these people urgently need shelter, particularly now that the short rainy season has started " , said ICRC cooperation delegate Emmanuel Campbell.

Even at the best of times, water is a limited resource in this arid part of the country. With so many people displaced, clean drinking water is vital to prevent the outbreak of disease. In the coming week, ICRC water and sanitation engineers plan to repair two boreholes in the Eldas and Arbajahan areas for use by both the displaced and local residents. This will meet the immediate needs of two-thirds of the displaced there. In the medium term, wells are to be cleaned up and fitted with hand pumps in the Griftu area also, and pit latrines dug to avoid any worsening in hygiene conditions.

So far 52 people have been reported missing by relatives. In an attempt to reunite separated family members, the National Society has started a tracing programme in the three areas where the displaced people have gathered.