Caritas is appealing for 4 million euro (US$5.6 million) to help Kenya during its most severe drought in 60 years.
Over 3.6 million people are in need of emergency assistance but this could rise to 5 million as the situation worsens. Caritas will provide food and water and will also help farmers improve their crops and boost their livestock.
Alistair Dutton, Caritas Internationalis humanitarian director recently returned from a trip to Kenya and Ethiopia. He said, “People are very concerned about where they are going to get food and water from and also how they are going to provide water for their livestock. Short of migration, they have very limited options.”
Caritas will support 30 420 households in the 14 most affected dioceses of Kenya in its the eight- month emergency programme. This will include providing many households with two meals a day, 7.5 litres of safe water per person per day and nutritional help for the vulnerable and chronically ill.
Further measures include giving 13 700 resource-poor farmers drought-tolerant seeds for planting during the 2011 short rains in October and November and replenishing livestock for over 1,300 households. Caritas will also improve water harvesting and storage through the provision of tanks and assisting in the running of boreholes.
The overall drought situation in East Africa is at a desperate level with over 13 million people affected. Drought-hit countries include Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and Uganda. Last month the UN declared famine conditions in parts of Somalia.
“Somalia is the worst-affected country as there are no systems in place to help people whatsoever. The harvest failed and there is no State serving the people,” said Alistair Dutton.
Dutton says that one reason for the repeated droughts is because the counties have no way of retaining water when it does rain. Caritas focuses its long-term projects on initiatives that will help communities conserve and use water better such as ponds, boreholes and more efficient agricultural practices.