Kenya: Traumatised Children Sleeping Rough
Traumatised children sleeping rough after fleeing Kenya violence
Save the Children is extremely concerned by the impact of the recent violence in Kenya on children. Thousands of children have been forced to leave the safety of their homes because of fighting and many are now sleeping rough and are extremely vulnerable.
According to the latest report from the UN, around 250,000 people have been made homeless by the violence.
Jan Coffey, Save the Children's Country Director in Kenya, said: "Around half of those affected, including people in the hospitals that have been injured or burnt during the violence, are children. Thousands of children have been deeply emotionally affected by what they have experienced and the camps are full of children crying uncontrollably and whose parents are themselves too traumatised to cope. These children will need shelter, clean water and food immediately, but one of our priorities will be to make sure these children feel safe and give them back some sense of normality as soon as possible."
Children who have been forced to flee their homes are at risk of being separated from their families and are much more likely to be exposed to further violence, abuse and exploitation. Many families from remote rural areas and slums are too scared to return home because of continuing ethnic tensions and could remain in the camps set up for homeless people for several months.
Save the Children's Director of Emergencies, Gareth Owen, said: "This rapid and massive-scale movement of people means that many thousands of children have been forced to flee at a moment's notice. Torn away from their homes and security, their lives have been turned upside down - they will be scared, confused, vulnerable and, in many cases, living rough without enough food or water. Save the Children will be responding over the next few days to make sure children are safe."
The aid agency has already released £50,000 from its Children's Emergency Fund to help scale-up the response in country. Despite being hampered by the unstable security situation and problems due to lack of access, Save the Children is planning to start carrying out assessments in the affected areas of Kenya and in neighbouring Uganda, where 5,000 people have fled.
Recent events have highlighted the underlying issues in Kenya, where many families were already living in poverty before the violence erupted. The areas that have been worst affected are the remote rural areas and slums, where many children were already living in desperately poor conditions.