Kenya Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan 2008

16 January 2008

Widespread violence, which has caused a growing humanitarian crisis, was triggered in Kenya by the announcement on 30 December 2007 that incumbent Mwai Kibaki had narrowly won a hotly contested presidential election against Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga.  Amid claims, including from national and international observers, that the vote had been flawed by serious irregularities, rioting and looting began to break out in urban centres across the country.  The sudden nature of the violence, the main areas of which were in the west of the country and in and around Nairobi, deaths and resultant displacement not only persisted but worsened, sparking regional and international responses and mediation efforts, including the most recent one coordinated by the African Union and led by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.  

The clear ethnic dimension to the violence, with members of specific groups targeted, has characterised this emergency a serious protection crisis, albeit with a direct link to an underlying political one.  The humanitarian implications of the violence are grave. For over two weeks the targeted ethnic violence resulted in alarming reports of killing, injuries, gender-based violence, extensive looting and destruction of property and mass displacement of the population.  More than 500 people have been reported as killed and thousands injured.  The violence has affected some 500,000 persons who require emergency assistance, 250,000 of whom are internally displaced.  Almost 4,000 Kenyans have sought seeking refuge in Uganda and many hundreds more have fled to northern Tanzania. 

Most aid agencies operated at the height of the crisis with reduced staffing capacity as personnel were unable or unwilling to come to work for fear of being caught up in the violence, or deliberately targeted on the basis of their alleged political or ethnic affiliation.  The humanitarian response was further hampered by the restrictions on freedom of movement caused by the violence.  As Kenya plays a regional economic, commercial, political, development and humanitarian hub supporting Somalia, Uganda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, this has meant that the impact of the crisis has been felt beyond its borders into almost all of these countries.  While the protection crisis is at the forefront of the response – with particular focus on those who fled their homes, the host communities who are receiving them, as well as those who had property destroyed – there is a need for early recovery elements which support livelihood recovery and which can immediately support the affected population to restore their lives.

The National Disaster Operations Centre in the Office of the President has coordinated the Kenyan Government’s response to the crisis. Local authorities have been organising and coordinating local relief efforts in conjunction with the Kenyan Red Cross Society (KRCS) – which was the first and principal responder to the violence, focusing initially on providing emergency medical care to victims – and other humanitarian partners.  As the situation developed and humanitarian needs emerged, the UN supported the KRCS and began distributing food and non-food relief items to affected people including growing numbers of displaced.  Numerous humanitarian agencies have thus joined the relief effort and recognised that the protection concerns along with early recovery needs of this emergency will require short, medium and possibly longer term responses. 

Although there were initial difficulties in assessing the situation, the priority needs during the acute phase of the emergency are identified as food, shelter, health and hygiene, water and sanitation and protection.  Whilst the most acute phase of the violence may have passed, without a political resolution the humanitarian situation remains critical and volatile.  This initial flash appeal is a snapshot which will be revised in the coming weeks as the trajectory of the crisis and humanitarian needs become clearer and as the division of labour in humanitarian response crystallises.  Moreover, as the situation evolves the need for early recovery and economic assistance become paramount. 

In close coordination with the Kenyan Government, the United Nations System, the KRCS, participating non-governmental organisations and other United Nations partners, this Flash Appeal seeks $41,938,954[1] for actions within a planning horizon of six months.  The $7 million provided by CERF on January 10 leaves an unfunded balance of $34.8 million.  The appeal includes 25 NGO projects, 34 UN projects, and four projects proposed by the International Organisation for Migration.

[1]All dollar figures in the document denote United States dollars.  Funding for this Flash Appeal should be reported to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS, 


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16 January 2008

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