Direct Relief Commits Additional $50,000 For Urgent Humanitarian Services

In response to an urgent appeal from our Regional Medical Advisor Dr. Hezron Mc’Obewa, who is based in Kenya’s Rift Valley, Direct Relief is providing an additional $50,000 in emergency funds to address severe humanitarian problems that have arisen in the most recent flare-up of violence in Naivasha, Nakuru and Limuru. Since the December elections in Kenya that triggered protests and violence, more than 750 Kenyans have reportedly died.

Dr. Hezron has assumed the role of directing emergency health services in the Kisumu area on behalf of a consortium of the Kenyan Ministry of Health and non-governmental organizations on the ground in Kenya, including the Kenyan Red Cross, Action Aid, and AMREF.

The funds will be used to secure transport for more than 2,000 displaced persons caught up in the new wave of violence and the provision as well as the provision of health services to persons who are injured or sick.

Dr. Hezron reported that this week’s spike in violence was triggered by widespread media reports in Kenya showing violence against members of one Kenyan tribe.  “There were scenes of people being physically removed from buses and hacked to death,” said Dr. Hezron via e-mail communication. “Following these pictures last night, the youths here went on a revenge mission in Kisumu town today and caught everyone unaware, including the authorities.”

Dr. Hezron has been in close daily contact via email, text messaging, and telephone with emergency coordinator Brett Williams and Dr. Mike Marks, Direct Relief’s South Africa-based medical adviser.  The killing in Nairobi of Mugabe Were, an opposition leader in the Kenyan parliament, has been among the recent incidents of violence that has led to intensified concern and tension.

“Direct Relief has been the main force behind the medical and basic health care to IDPs within this region, as well as now within the slums where we have been running daily camps, but this new scenario is desperate,” said Dr. Hezron.

Direct Relief has already furnished $50,000 in emergency funds, matched by an anonymous donor in the UK, to help provide critically needed medicines and supplies, as well as an emergency module of medical aid sufficient for 10,000 people for a 30-day period.

Another air freighted shipment of wide-ranging antibiotics, wound care supplies, oral rehydration solutions, and anti-hypertensive drugs is set to leave Direct Relief’s headquarters for Kenya in the next two days.

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