Hunger relief in East Africa
Malteser International steps up aid, plans new relief convoy
Cologne/Marsabit. The ever-increasing need for humanitarian aid in East Africa has led Malteser International, the relief service of the Order of Malta for worldwide humanitarian aid, to step up its efforts in northern Kenya. “Thanks to the generosity of many private donors, we are now able to help nearly three times as many people as we had originally planned”, says Ute Kirch, emergency relief coordinator for Malteser International, who just returned from the region after overseeing the organisation’s first delivery and distribution of relief goods.
In the coming weeks, another food shipment for about 43,000 people will be sent to Marsabit. In addition to rice, beans and oil, children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with special needs will receive a protein- and vitamin-enriched nutritional supplement.
The region’s last two rainy seasons have failed, drying up pastures and killing livestock, the main source of income for the local population. “The next short rainy season should come in the end of October – but, even if it rains, it will not be enough”, Kirch says. “It will take many more months, if not years, until the people and the animals have recovered from the drought.”
Kirch believes a long-term intervention in the region is essential to improve the population’s coping mechanisms for future droughts. Possible measures include creating cereal banks in the villages and providing the population with alternative sources of income.
Attention editors: Ute Kirch, emergency relief coordinator for Malteser International, is available until 15 August for interviews. Contact through Malteser International’s headquarters at +49 (0) 221 98 22-169.
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Reference: Food crisis East Africa
Malteser International is the worldwide relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta for humanitarian aid. The organisation provides aid in about 100 projects in more than 20 countries without distinction of religion, race or political persuasion. Christian values and the humanitarian principles of impartiality and independence are the foundation of its work. For further information: www.malteser-international.org and www.orderofmalta.org