At least 180,000 people have been displaced by unrest as the humanitarian crisis grows after last week’s disputed election in Kenya, say UN officials.
Some have been housed in makeshift camps while others have sought refuge in police stations or churches, fleeing violence that has claimed 350 lives. In badly-affected western Kenya nearly all the refugees are hungry, and several children have died of exposure. A top UN official in Nairobi says about 500,000 Kenyans need urgent help.
The latest developments came as anti-government protests fizzled out and the president said he might accept opposition demands for a fresh election, but only if ordered by a court. The UN World Food Programme said it was struggling to get food to 100,000 hungry people forced to flee their homes in the Rift Valley area. The International Committee of the Red Cross issued an urgent appeal for more than Â£7m of aid. The BBC’s Karen Allen in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret, where at least 30 people were burned to death in a church this week, says 30,000 local people have been displaced.
Some 10,000 people there are seeking refuge in the compound of the cathedral of the Catholic Church, which is now spearheading local relief efforts.
A statement by a group of independent UN rights experts on Friday said: “We are profoundly alarmed by the reports of incitement to racial hatred and the growing frictions between the different ethnic groups in Kenya.”