Displaced Kenyans are at Risk from Malnutrition, Warns UN

by Medindia Content Team on  January 23, 2008 at 4:59 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
Displaced Kenyans are at Risk from Malnutrition, Warns UN
Thousands of displaced Kenyans are at risk from malnutrition after being forced from their homes by the country's political turmoil, United Nations aid agencies warned Tuesday.

'The nutrition situation in internally displaced people (IDP) camps is a serious concern,' said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Children are at particular risk, with screening at five locations over the past week showing levels of malnutrition were higher than expected with 45 cases of severe malnutrition per 1,400 children examined, she told journalists.

'Food access remains a problem with both commercial and relief food deliveries facing logistical and security-related challenges,' Byrs added.

The port of Mombasa risks being overburdened, with some ships bearing aid diverted to Dar es-Salaam in neighbouring Tanzania, she said.

OCHA last week launched a 42 million dollar (29 million euro) emergency humanitarian response plan, but which is currently only 17 percent funded.

The UN refugee agency said it is continuing aid efforts to support the quarter of a million people displaced by the violence that erupted after last month's controversial presidential elections.

Around 12,000 Kenyans are still living in churches, police stations and other public buildings in Nairobi alone, UNHCR spokesman William Spindler told journalists.

Some 6,500 Kenyans have also sought refuge in neighbouring Uganda, although there have been no reports of large-scale arrivals since the weekend, he added.

The UNHCR said it plans to transfer more than 300 refugees from other conflict-stricken countries -- mainly Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi -- to refugee camps after they were forced from their homes in Nairobi.

Source: AFP

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