Minister Ahern pledges to assist displaced Kenyans
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern T.D., told thousands of displaced persons in a makeshift camp in Kenya today, that Ireland and the international community would do all in its power to help them return to their farms and homes.
On the first day of his visit to Kenya, the Minister addressed an open air meeting of thousands of displaced Kenyans near Eldoret in Kenya’s Rift Valley. The Kenyans had fled ethnic violence earlier this year following the Presidential election. The violence lead to an estimated loss of up to 1,500 lives, the displacement of 600,000 people and the destruction of 41,000 properties.
Minister Ahern told them that Ireland stood shoulder to shoulder with them in their hour of need and would remain a voice of hope for them in the International community.
He said: “What happened to you was tragic, but every effort will be made to nurture the political and civil conditions which I hope will give you the confidence to return to your homes. In the interim, Ireland will continue to aid the displacement camp.”
So far this year the Irish Government has provided €1.5million in emergency aid. Since 2006, the Government has provided €27million in aid, channelled through charities and NGO’s.
The Minister also met today with religious leaders including Bishop Maurice Crowley (Co. Cork) at Kitale before returning to Nairobi.
Tomorrow (Thursday) the Minister meets with the President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Nairobi on the final day of his two day visit.
Note to Editors:
In the weeks following the disputed Kenyan Presidential election up to 1,500 people were killed and over 600,000 displaced from their homes. Eldoret and Kitale are located in the Rift Valley, scene of some of the worst of the recent intercommunal violence, and host to tens of thousands of IDP’s. Bishop Maurice Crowley of Kitale is the only remaining Irish Bishop in Kenya.
Since 2006, Irish Aid provided over €27 million in aid to Kenya through Irish and international NGOs, missionary organisations and international partners, such as the UN. The NGOs supported by Irish Aid are engaged in providing food and basic supplies to those who remain displaced and in helping those who returned home to restart their lives.
Kenya is a crucial humanitarian hub in the region and many humanitarian organisations use it as a base for operations in the region. Kenya already hosts more than 270,000 refugees from other countries from the East and Horn of Africa.Top