The following is an update from Direct Relief’s Regional Medical Advisor and founder of Kenya-based OGRA Foundation Dr. Hezron Mc’Obewa. Dr. Hezron is in Kisumu treating victims of the country’s recent outbreak of violence following elections. Dr. Hezron is also the head of the Kisumu area’s humanitarian aid committee, coordinating activities between the Kenyan Ministry of Health, Kenyan Red Cross, and non-governmental organizations.
Direct Relief has provided $25,000 in cash support, which has been matched by an anonymous donor in the UK, for the response effort. Direct Relief also has supplied an emergency module of essential medicines and supplies sufficient to provide basic care for 10,000 people for a 30-day period. In addition, a scheduled shipment of antiretroviral drugs for displaced persons who need to maintain their treatment regimen has been expedited.
We have been progressing well but now have better statistics for the western region where we are covering. So far we have 96,000 internally displaced persons scattered in greater western Kenya and the north Rift Valley where we work. Here is a breakdown of the needs and situation so far:
1. We have been able to spend three-fourths of the cash donation ($50,000, of which $25,000 was from Direct Relief and $25,000 matched by a UK donor) on essential medicines for eight camp sites totaling 38,000 persons in total so far. We need an extra $72,000 in drugs and logistics support, as well as for paying medical volunteer allowances.
2. The rest of the money has gone towards purchasing blankets, nets and tents.
3. We now have received 30 tons of food from the World Food Programme and World Vision (just arrived today for distribution), and Action Aid have also donated $6,000 towards medicines in the western region. We have 18 wounded from gun shot wounds in the remote villages requiring surgery at present and reports of many more hacked but we haven’t reached them yet. These surgical cases will be brought to Kisumu and treated at one of our hospitals and we will pay the surgeons to get them sorted.
4. The disaster management team has now divided roles, and OGRA Foundation/Direct Relief will now continue only with medical and health intervention.
5. ARVs: There are reports of over 8,100 patients with AIDS on antiretrovirals who have run out of their drugs. I have pledged to give them medicines for 4 weeks for the time being, but this will mean I may run out in the not-distant future and will need to expedite the next consignment of ARVs to Kenya.
6. Violence: The level of violence within Kisumu town remains on and off but police are still shooting two to three people daily. So far we have over 100 dead locally, and we estimate that the same or more have died within villages because of injuries sustained during the conflict. Houses and buses are still being torched sporadically and it all will depend on the political solution to come sooner than later.
7. AMREF has kindly agreed to give me a desk in their local office and also are considering giving us a vehicle to use, as we are unable to reach most places without 4x4s. OGRA has committed all three of its vehicles to the cause together with Red Cross’ two vehicles. This is still not enough, but we have to hire some vehicles and their impact will be greatly appreciated.
I may not be able to access e-mail tomorrow due to a planned rally in Kisumu town but my mobile will still work as usual.
I will keep you updated as things progress.
PS: Currently I am using a 12 person team (one surgeon, two physicians including myself, five clinical officers, and four nurses), besides other general operatives.