UN: Displaced Kenyans Can’t Return Yet

Pulished by AP, by KATHARINE HOURELD, Febr. 11, 2008.

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A senior U.N. official warned Sunday that a vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of Kenyans displaced by the postelection violence will not be able to return home any time soon because of the fear of more violence …

… John Holmes, the U.N.’s humanitarian chief, warned that Kenya has a long, hard task ahead in dealing with the hundreds of camps scattered across the country that have absorbed people fleeing attacks on one tribe or another. He said that a political compromise was needed to bring an end to the violence.

“Clearly what we all hope is that people will be able to go home as soon as they can, but it’s clear from talking to people, for many of them, for a vast majority of them it’s not something that we can contemplate in the near future,” Holmes told reporters in Kenya’s capital after visiting several of the camps.

The response to the humanitarian crisis has been “reasonably satisfactory,” Holmes said, but basic services were still only sporadically available in many places. About $22 million of a pledged $42 million has been given so far through the U.N. for humanitarian assistance, he said …

… More than 1,000 people have been killed since the election. The fighting has pitted members of Kenya’s rival ethnic groups against one another, gutted the economy and left the country’s reputation as a budding democracy and a top tourist destination in tatters. (full text).

(Associated Press writers Katy Pownall and Heidi Vogt in Nairobi, Osinde Obare in Sianda and Philip Mwakio in Mombasa contributed to this report).

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