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Telephone: +44 207 877 7044, email: PSims@redcross.org.uk, out of hours: 07659 145 095
Millions of Kenyans are struggling to get enough food to eat due to a drought caused by three consecutive failed rain seasons, and compounded by the effects of the 2008 post-election violence and the rise in global food prices.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched an appeal to provide food aid, seeds, emergency health and care and improve access to water.
Andrei Engstrand-Neacsu, a Red Cross worker based in Nairobi, says:
“The situation is beyond serious now. Elephants are already dying in the game reserves because of the drought. Pastoralist communities are hopelessly watching their cattle dying. They say that when animals start dying, humans are next in line.”
The British Red Cross is providing £149,000, including a £25,000 donation from Tesco, to provide seeds to enable 15,000 households (approx 75,000 people) to plant crops and take advantage of predicted El Nino rains. This model is based on post El Nino harvest of 1998 when early action resulted in a good harvest, and enabled people to recover their livelihoods far more quickly.
The Kenyan Red Cross Society is already reaching almost 800,000 people with food aid and has been working to rehabilitate dry boreholes in the north and south-eastern regions.
Andrei Engstrand-Neacsu continues:
“In the north, in the Isiolo region, there are ongoing clashes over water and pasture. People are travelling from miles around to the few boreholes that still have water, I’ve seen people who have travelled many miles waiting with their cattle for three days for their turn for water. I’ve seen people digging down into dry river beds for four or five feet, desperate to find some water.
“One thing that really brings it home is that the Masai are bringing their cattle much closer into urban areas. They are even bringing the cattle into the city to graze, we can see their skinny bony cattle right here in the heart of the capital.”
Donations can be made to the British Red Cross Disaster Fund at www.redcross.org.uk/disasterfund or by calling 0845 054 7205.
For information, spokespeople and pictures contact Penny Sims firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7877 7044
British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.