CAFOD is providing rapid food relief to some of the many thousands of Kenyans displaced by conflict following the elections in Kenya. Large numbers of people have been driven from their homes by the insecurity, many of whom are sheltering in churches, schools and police stations. The diocese of Eldoret in the west of Kenya is one of the worst affected areas, with over 10,000 people currently taking refuge in the Catholic cathedral, and a total of 36,000 people sheltering in churches across the region. CAFOD is supporting other agencies to carry out a rapid assessment of the scale of the situation and, alongside Caritas Kenya and US based Catholic Relief Services, has already pledged an initial $15,000 (USD) to local church partners for immediate food relief for the next five days. "The situation is dire" said Kizito Odock, Development Coordinator for the Diocese of Eldoret, "People have been arriving at the cathedral for the last three days. The floor is full of people. They see the church as a safe-haven for escaping the violence. We need food immediately, particularly for children. There are thousands of people sheltering across parishes, and we are finding it hard to cope. "The pews have been moved aside and people are sleeping on the floor. The water supply was cut off yesterday. The numbers swell whenever there are further clashes, with mostly women and children arriving. CAFOD and Catholic Church agencies are responding to the needs of the Kenyan people, providing food, safety and shelter. We need goodwill from local leaders to allow creditable agencies like the Red Cross and the Catholic Church to have access to provide humanitarian relief Nik Bretholt, CAFOD Humanitarian Coordinator for East Africa said: "We cannot turn people away who come to us for safe haven, but our capacities are over stretched to breaking point. If we don't get help, we are heading for catastrophe." Nik Bretholt, CAFOD Humanitarian Coordinator for East Africa, based in Nairobi, said: "We are extremely concerned by the effect the insecurity is having on the Kenyan people, and anxious that it doesn't deteriorate any further. CAFOD and Catholic Church agencies are responding to the needs of the Kenyan people, providing food, safety and shelter. We need goodwill from local leaders to allow creditable agencies like the Red Cross and the Catholic Church to have access to provide humanitarian relief." The Catholic Church in Kenya is calling on individuals to refrain from violence and on leaders to enter into dialogue to find a peaceful solution.
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