The first escorted convoy of food from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) left the Kenyan port of Mombasa today and more food assistance arrived in the Northern Rift Valley town of Eldoret for 100,000 people driven from their homes by post-election violence.
Twenty trucks loaded with 670 metric tons of food – enough to feed at least 70,000 people for two weeks – left Mombasa escorted by police. Eleven of the trucks carrying pulses, nutritious corn-soya blend (CSB) and vegetable oil are destined for Eldoret and the others for Nairobi.
The trucks are escorted because transporters refused to leave Mombasa without escorts.
The trucks for Nairobi will provide stocks that WFP can draw on as soon as a plan to provide food assistance to the hungry in Nairobi’s slums is agreed by the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRC), other partners, church-based organizations and the authorities.
WFP is providing non-cereals to the KRC to feed the 100,000 people estimated displaced in the Northern Rift Valley. At the same time, the Government of Kenya is handing over 1,800 tons of cereals – enough to feed 120,000 people for one month – to the KRC to distribute.
The KRC in Eldoret told WFP today that so far it has distributed 124 tons of food to 25,951 people in the Northern Rift Valley. One difficulty with distributions is that the displaced population is in flux with some people using the relative calm to move to other safer areas.
Two trucks loaded with 35 tons of WFP high energy biscuits arrived in Eldoret on Saturday. WFP has agreed with the KRC on a two-week ration of cereals, pulses, oil, CSB, high energy biscuits and wheat soya-milk, which is similar to CSB, where available.
In other movements, 162 tons of WFP corn-soya blend was loaded on Saturday in Nairobi onto KRC trucks heading to Eldoret and UNICEF is today collecting 16 tons of WFP CSB from a factory in Nairobi’s industrial area to be distributed to health centres in the capital.
To respond to the current crisis, WFP is drawing on stocks from its other operations in Kenya – feeding 700,000 people hit by drought and a Country Programme for 1.1 million children in 3,800 schools and an HIV/AIDS project in Nairobi and Eldoret. But the borrowed food will need to be repaid.