January 22 2008

SOS Children's Villages provides support after violence in Kenya

22/01/2008 - SOS Children's Villages is starting emergency relief programmes in three locations for children who have lost their parents during the serious spate of violence in the country or whose families have not yet been found. Refugee families and seriously traumatised people are another target group.

Photo: Patrick Wittmann
Unaccompanied children are especially vulnerable - Photo: P. Wittmann

The large-scale riots that took place after the presidential elections in December triggered a mass exodus of people in Kenya and have caused hundreds of deaths. Many children have lost their parents or have been separated from their families. Around 500,000 people fled from the massacre. The main areas affected are Nairobi, the coastal regions and the Rift Valley. SOS Children's Villages is now starting an emergency relief programme for around 2,000 people in the catchments areas of its facilities in Nairobi, Eldoret and Mombasa.

 In Eldoret alone, the scene of a massacre in a church, there are more than 4,000 refugees, 33 of whom are orphans between the ages of two and 17; another 26 children were separated from their families in the chaos.

Photo: Katja Snozzi
At the SOS Social Centre in Nairobi - Photo: K. Snozzi

How SOS Children's Villages is helping

A total of 2,000 refugee families, a large number of whom are single mothers, are receiving relief supplies (food, tarpaulin to be used for tents, blankets, clothes, crockery and personal hygiene products, etc.). In parallel, families with seriously traumatised children are receiving psychological support at the refugee camps.

The emergency relief programme is concentrating on providing care for unaccompanied refugee children. The SOS Children's Villages in Nairobi, Eldoret and Mombasa can take children in on a temporary basis, until their families are found. However, if it is not possible to reunite the children with their families, it will be possible to let the children stay in the long-term. A total of 45 unaccompanied children were taken into SOS Children's Village Nairobi just yesterday.

All emergency relief measures are being taken in cooperation with the Kenya Red Cross Society and other aid organisations.

The emergency relief programme is at present scheduled to run for six months. If necessary, the emergency relief can be replaced with long-term family strengthening programmes.