Tuesday, January 8, 2008

More on Mamas and Babies: Red Cross witnesses losses

Mamas and babies are suffering, and a picture is worth a thousand words.


Mary Wanjiru walks behind Red Cross workers carrying the body of her one year and one month old boy, Brian, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008 as they arrive at the Nairobi city mortuary. Mary Wanjiru sat beside her baby's corpse for hours, as hundreds of people camping out beside an air force base to flee Kenya's election violence washed clothes, cooked maize, and stood in line for medicine.

'Because we are sleeping outside, and it's so cold, he's dead,' Wanjiru said, her face expressionless.

(AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo)

Most Americans think of Africa as a hot place, but Kenya has a diverse topography and ecology, with desert, savanah, coastal areas that are hot, and highlands that are very cool--even cold at night.

Right now, Kenyans are fleeing violence in areas of high elevation (5500 to 8500 feet). Although it's the dry season, these areas become very cold at night.

Refugees lack proper sanitation (pit latrines), food, and clean water; some even lack clothing and blankets. Under these crowded conditions, with hunger and cold, the risk of major outbreaks of infectious disease is increasing with each day the crisis continues.

Save the Children estimates that as many as half of the quarter million IDPs in Kenya are children.

See links on the right sidebar to send funds for relief efforts. If you wish to provide direct aid to IDPs for immediate needs--food, shelter, medicine and clothing--that may save the lives of the most vulnerable (children and the elderly), see links for:
  • Indiana University's program in Eldoret (IU Foundation)
  • AMREF - African Medical and Research Foundation
  • Doctors without Borders, and/or
  • The Kenya Red Cross.

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