Ministry responds to refugee needs in Kenya

By January 10, 2008

Kenya (MNN) — Africa's Union head is now stepping in to try and bring an end to the political standoff in Kenya. Fresh violence broke out when President Mwai Kibaki announced his cabinet.  The protestors have created roadblocks, which effectively cut off supplies to the hardest hit area.

200,000 people are already displaced within the country and in need of emergency aid. Christian Reformed World Relief Committee's U.S. Executive Director Andrew Ryskamp says,  "It's very difficult to get supply trucks. Transport companies are even hesitant to put their trucks on the road. But fortunately, we had some food that was already stored in the Eldoret area. So we have staff who are dedicated to the long term work, as well as staff who are dedicated to the relief operation." 

Because CRWRC has worked for many years in Kenya, it is in a position to play a role in providing long-term relief that Ryskamp says could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars before affected communities can return to building their capacity and developing local resources. "We have set up a relief fund for Kenya and are asking people to give financially if they are able."

Ryskamp says their team's response is an evangelistic declaration. "Standing next to them is a way of demonstrating that we are the community of Christ together. Our staff are continuing to work with people–that's an element of hope that's being brought to them. One of the aspects of our programs is also to work at peace and reconciliation."

CRWRC has five full-time staff members in Kenya. The country is also a hub for CRWRC's HIV/AIDS coordinator for the East/South African region. Partners Worldwide, a CRC business-development ministry, also has a staff person in Kenya. All personnel are reported to be safe. 

Chris Shiundu, national relief manager for CRWRC in Kenya, will meet with a relief consortium consisting of Dorcas Aid, Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in Nairobi this Friday to explore additional ways of working together.

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