A shaky, spray-painted yellow "X" marked the corner of Peter Kamau's home. That's all the warning the Kenyan needed to move his family, furniture and belongings to the side of the road in hopes they could hitch a ride to safety.
Kamau had seen the sign enough to know the meaning his house would go up in flames that night.
Mary Mwiruri didn't have the courtesy of a warning. She said it was only by God's grace her family escaped their burning home with the clothes on their backs. They lost everything.
The ramifications of Kenya's post-election violence are fast becoming a humanitarian crisis. The United Nations estimates more than 250,000 Kenyans have been internally displaced since the Dec. 27 election. Nearly 600 have died in a wave of clashes after the opposition claimed the election had been rigged.
Makeshift camps of displaced people steadily pop up at police stations, church courtyards, city stadiums and show grounds. In the first crucial days of the crisis, Southern Baptist Convention groups Baptist Global Response and the International Mission Board responded to critical hunger needs. Donations to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund helped feed more than 2,500 families.
"We've been able to help with feeding at seven different sites across the country," says Mark Hatfield, director of Baptist Global Response work in sub-Saharan Africa. "As we pulled up our sleeves and started working side by side with our Kenyan brothers and sisters, we found other needs such as blankets and water that we've been able to meet.
"Basically," Hatfield says, "we've been trying to help these displaced people feel like they are in a safe place."
Trucks piled high with nylon feed sacks holding clothes and cookware, ...1