Red Cross calls for support to address surging refugees

Counties Editor's Pick Social Trans Nzoia

The Kenya Red Cross, Kitale branch, is appealing for support from interested donors and well-wishers to enable handle the surging number of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The refugees, majority of them asylum seekers, started to arrive in the country on Tuesday.

Addressing the press from Endebess on Thursday, KRC Branch Chairperson Ronald Masindano hinted at the likelihood of population of the asylum seekers ballooning, providing a challenge to the organisation as it attempts to meet some of the basic necessities.

“We are at the moment receiving an average of 800 refugees in a week, up from 600 that has already overstretched available facilities and resources,” disclosed Mr Masindano who added possibilities of the figure rising to 1000 was very high.

With Trans Nzoia County as one of the entry points for the northern corridor countries including Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda, Mr Masindano noted a likelihood the region receiving many asylum seekers from the war-torn countries of Burundi and Sudan.

While calling for extra help, the official recognised the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, which he described as a very close partner.

“We are requesting for support from stakeholders. The support can be in terms of material items including clothes, mattresses, blankets, food among other personal effects. This will enable us temporarily hold the refugees comfortably before transferring them to Kakuma Refugee Camp,” explained Masindano.

Describing some of the challenges faced by the refugees, Mr Masindano underscored the need for countries to uphold and promote internal as well as regional peace.

He regretted over the hundreds of kilometres covered by the refugees who trek from DRC to Kenya, a journey of about three months.

The Red Cross County Coordinator Ruth Mining’wo echoed Mr Masindano’s sentiments.

According to Ms Mining’wo, the organisation was currently facing financial constraint due to the influx of refugees in the country.

By Maurice Aluda

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