Cologne/Nairobi. Three consecutive rainy seasons have been missing in eastern Kenya. According to the United Nations, around 2.9 million people in eastern Kenya are in urgent need of aid, and more than half a million children are acutely malnourished. As a result of the drought, tens of thousands of farm animals have starved to death, pastures have withered and wells have dried up. Malteser International is providing emergency relief with drinking water and cash.
"The situation in North Horr in Marsabit County, for example, is appalling. Many families have already lost a large part of their livestock. They don't know what to eat anymore, the small children can't be provided with milk from the cows and goats and the need is huge," says Roland Hansen, Head of the Africa Department of Malteser International. "There have always been droughts in these areas, but they are occurring more and more frequently as a result of climate change. Of all people, who themselves contribute least to global warming, are suffering hard from the consequences: they are already starving and there is no end to this disaster in sight," says Hansen.
Malteser International, with the support of the German Foreign Office, will provide emergency aid for the next three months and regularly send tank trucks with drinking water for about 4,000 people to the affected areas. In addition, the aid workers will distribute cash to around 4,000 households so that those in need can buy the basic necessities for survival at the local markets.
"However, it is important to us that we also help the people in the long term. To ensure this, our next step, together with our local partner, will be to help people restructure their livestock farming. It is important that they keep and breed more resilient animals in their herds that require less water. The marketing of the animals also needs to become more professional so that the livestock farmers can build up a small cushion. They basically have to adapt to the changed conditions, otherwise this area will become uninhabitable for them in the near future," says Hansen.
Malteser International is the humanitarian relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta. With over 100 projects in 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, Malteser International supports those affected by poverty, disease, conflict and disaster, helping them lead a healthy life with dignity – without distinction of religion, race or political persuasion. Christian values and the humanitarian principles build the foundation of our work. For more information: www.malteser-international.org
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Roland Hansen, Head of the Africa Department of Malteser International, is available for interviews and sound bites.
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