Young mother Margaret Wanjiru experienced first-hand the violence in Kibera following Kenya’s disputed elections.
“Some youth came armed with machetes and started torching our houses,” she recalls.
“When I noticed they were nearing our house I took my child and fled the slum.”
The 21-year-old and her baby Maryanne, three months, are now living at a camp for internally displaced people in Nairobi.
Like Margaret, most of the camp’s residents are from Kibera, an informal settlement in Nairobi that was the epicentre of the post-election violence.
The clashes have claimed more than 600 lives and forced a further 250,000 people to flee their homes.
More than one in three of the 7,000 people living in Margaret’s camp, at Nairobi International Trade Fair, are children.
“Life at the camp is difficult,” she says.
“We sleep on the floor and we have no blankets to cover ourselves.
“My child cries a lot at night and I have no milk to give her.”
Mother-of-three Ann Njeri also says she fled Kibera after being chased by young people carrying machetes. The youths had allegedly killed 20 people.
She recalls that there were skirmishes in the slum on the day of the elections, but that things got out of hand immediately as the election results were announced.
“Today we were told that our property had been burned, now we have nowhere to go to,” she says.
Ann’s source of income, a small grocery stand, was also destroyed in the violence.
She is afraid to return home and fears for her future.
World Vision is providing emergency support of food, mosquito nets, blankets, cooking utensils and mobile toilets at the camp.
7 January 2008