Kenyans seek food, shelter in crisis

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Doug Krizner: Stock and currency markets in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi are open today. Trading was halted one day last week, after violent reaction to results in Kenya’s presidential election. For many in Kenya, they could care less about the country’s performance in the world economy. They just need food and shelter, as Gretchen Wilson reports.

Gretchen Wilson:
In just a week, about 250,000 Kenyans have been uprooted by unprecedented riots and ethnic violence. That’s a quarter-million people who used to make a living as farmers, teachers, or agricultural traders, who’ve seen their homes looted or burned. Thousands of people are sleeping in churches and police stations. Others have fled to neighboring Uganda.

The United Nations is rushing to get bags of corn and rice to tens of thousands who face hunger. Medical groups are also scrambling to provide the displaced with mosquito nets to stem malaria, as well as clean water. But transportation is difficult. Gangs have set up roadblocks on major thoroughfares.

This is an identity crisis for many Kenyans, who’ve found themselves displaced in the most stable country in the region.

I’m Gretchen Wilson for Marketplace.

All reporting by Gretchen L. Wilson, © 2008

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