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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 January 2008, 10:04 GMT
Kenya food effort gets under way
Woman seeks aid in Nairobi
Woman seeks aid in Nairobi

A convoy of food trucks has left the Kenyan port of Mombasa, in a new effort to tackle a humanitarian crisis triggered by disputed elections.

The trucks, carrying 666 tonnes of food and vegetable oil, are bound for Nairobi and Eldoret, where people displaced by the violence are gathered.

No food has moved in Kenya since unrest broke out after elections last month which the opposition says were rigged.

The opposition rejected a subsequent offer of a national unity government.

map

The violence, much of it blamed on ethnic tensions, has killed 350 people and shocked a nation previously seen as one of the most stable in Africa.

The first group of 20 food trucks are carrying enough supplies to feed 35,000 people for a month.

The UN says 250,000 people have been made homeless by the violence. Many have been sleeping in the open at public parks, police stations, or churches.

They have few belongings and little or no money.

The convoy also offers hope to neighbouring countries, for which Mombasa is also a key port and distribution hub.

Health fears

British charity Merlin has warned of a looming health crisis in Kenya.

Country director Wubeshet Woldermariam said food and water supplies were "running dangerously low".

Kenyans pray for peace
Church services praying for peace have been held across Kenya

"If peace isn't restored within the next few days, disease outbreaks and severe dehydration are very real threats."

Latest indications are that violence is waning and life is starting to return to normal.

But across Kenya on Sunday, church services have been held calling for peace.

"Our leaders have failed us. They have brought this catastrophe upon us. So now we are turning to the Almighty to save Kenya," worshipper Jane Riungu told the Reuters news agency as she took her children to church in Nairobi.

On the political front, the US's top Africa diplomat, Jendayi Frazer - who saw President Mwai Kibaki and the opposition leader Raila Odinga on Saturday - is still in Nairobi, where she was expected to hold more talks.

KENYA'S ETHNIC GROUPS
Woman seeks aid in Nairobi
Population 34.5m, comprising more than 40 ethnic groups
Kikuyu are the largest tribe, mostly concentrated around Nairobi
Most of Eastern/ North-eastern regions sparsely populated with ethnic Somalis
Main ethnic groups are:
Kikuyu: 22%
Luhya: 14%
Luo: 13%
Kalenjin: 12%
Kamba: 11%
Kisii: 6%
Meru: 6%
Other African: 15%

The African Union chairman, President John Kufuor of Ghana, is also expected to visit Nairobi.

Mr Kibaki has said he is willing to form a government of national unity to ease the crisis.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga says he is willing to negotiate, but says Mr Kibaki should step down.

Kenyan politics has been dogged by ethnic tensions since independence in 1963.

Mr Kibaki depends for support on the largest ethnic group, the Kikuyus, while the western Luo and Kalenjin groups - who seek greater autonomy - back Mr Odinga.



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