Bishop Cornelius Kipng’eno Arap Korir of the West Kenyan diocese of Eldoret has asked the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need for assistance in responding to the Kenyan humanitarian crisis provoked by violence in the aftermath of contested elections.
The city of Eldoret was the epicenter of the violence and riots that broke out after the December 27 presidential elections. Over 100,000 people have fled, walking dozens of miles to escape. Many have sought refuge in churches, including a church that attackers burned to the ground, killing dozens.
Church resources are taxed to their limits and cannot cope with the refugees. “People are spending the night out in the cold, some children have even died of exhaustion,” Bishop Korir lamented.
Bishop Korir told the aid agency that most of the bodies of the estimated one hundred people estimated killed during riots in the diocese had not yet been buried. He said people were afraid to recover the bodies of the dead for fear their own lives would be endangered. The bishop called the situation “a matter of urgency.”
The bishop urged the Kenyan government to provide passable transport routes into and out of the city and to ensure safe passage for relief vehicles. He said that in addition to food, medicine, and emergency shelter, traumatized victims urgently needed social workers and psychologists.
Bishop Korir condemned the violence, calling for the immediate end to hostilities and the creation of conditions that would provide peace, reconciliation and normality to the troubled land. He asked political leaders “to search for a permanent solution to the crisis afflicting the Kenyan nation.”