WFP responds to crisis in Kenya

Published on 01 April 2008

WFP responds to the crisis in Kenya and will shortly provide food through the Kenya Red Cross for an estimated 100,000 people displaced in the Northern Rift Valley

WFP is responding to the crisis in Kenya and will shortly provide food through the Kenya Red Cross for 100,000 people displaced in the Northern Rift Valley according to a Red Cross assessment.

The Government of Kenya is providing 1,800 metric tons of cereals -- enough to feed 120,000 people for one month -- and WFP will give pulses -- beans or lentils -- from its warehouse in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret to the Red Cross.

Eldoret

The vegetable oil needed for a full basket of food is available in WFP stocks in Mombasa and will need to be trucked to Eldoret from there.

A WFP team left Nairobi by road on Friday to reinforce Eldoret and release food to the Kenya Red Cross.

WFP is working in cooperation with the Red Cross, UN agencies and the government to provide food assistance to the displaced and other victims of violence as soon as possible.

Trucks

The biggest problem is the difficulty for trucks carrying WFP food to reach areas in western Kenya. Virtually all movements of WFP food in Kenya both for western Kenya and the entire region -- including Uganda, Sudan and DR Congo -- were frozen for days because of insecurity.

On Thursday, Kenyan security forces escorted 20 trucks loaded with WFP food that were stranded 20 kilometres west of the town of Nakuru. Four trucks headed for Lokichoggio in northwestern Kenya and onto southern Sudan and the rest headed to Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A total of 200 WFP-contracted trucks were loaded with WFP food in Mombasa from a ship that arrived over Christmas carrying of 30,000 metric tons of WFP food -- enough to feed 1.5 million people for a month -- for Uganda, southern Sudan, Somalia and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The food for Somalia will be sent by sea, and the rest has to go by land.

Stranded

Some of those trucks left Mombasa but then were stranded because of insecurity on main roads and checkpoints set up by vigilantes in western Kenya. Some drivers failed to return to work in Mombasa since leaving to vote in the election and transporters in Mombasa refuse to move more trucks out of the port without escorts.

Some trucks with WFP food have reached Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps and Lokichoggio for Sudan and the border checkpoint of Malaba for Uganda and DR Congo.

A total of 15 trucks loaded with WFP food are stranded in Nairobi, 60 in Mombasa, and a number in Mariakani and Athi River near Nairobi and in Eldoret. Each truck carries 34 tons of food. WFP is holding urgent talks to resolve this issue and get food to those who need it in Kenya and elsewhere.

Flight cancellations

Meanwhile, insecurity forced the cancellation of the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flights from Nairobi to Somalia on Wednesday and on Thursday from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

UNHAS, run by WFP, usually has daily flights to and from Somalia carrying aid workers and cargo such as medicine. One of the flights cancelled on Thursday was to carry a special team to Mogadishu to discuss how to increase the humanitarian response in the Somali capital.