Kenya: drought threatens millions of people
About 20 million people in the Horn of Africa are meanwhile dependent on food aid as a severe drought spread over the region. In Kenya, around one third of the population is suffering from hunger and diseases related to malnutrition and lack of potable water. Malteser International, the Order of Malta’s International Relief Corps, now starts relief measures in the districts of Marsabit, Samburu and Isiolo in the most severely affected north of the country with a population of 365,000 people. In cooperation with the local dioceses Malteser International will provide six health centres, two hospitals and one hospital dispensary with drugs and medical consumables for the treatment of malaria, diarrhoea and bacterial infections. Additionally, 7,500 mosquito nets will be distributed.
‘The persistent shortage of water and the bad water quality have significantly reduced livestock and thus the only income possibility of the nomad population’ reports Dr. Georg Nothelle, head of the Malteser International Africa department. ‘This contributes to increased undernourishment and susceptibility for infectious diseases.’ In addition, ‘humidity, cool temperatures and destruction of infrastructures caused by the now occurring flooding will result in a rising number of malaria and pneumonia infections. As there is rarely potable water available, hygiene conditions are deteriorating. This is why water purification tablets are also distributed” Nothelle explains.
Malteser International provides further relief for 19,000 people through supplementary food consisting of oil, beans and maize – especially for vulnerable groups such as pregnant and breast-feeding women, children under five and the elderly. About 1,500 pregnant women and 2,680 children will receive milk powder and food supplements. The emergency aid for drought victims is mainly funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. Anyway, in order to provide further relief, Malteser International is in urgent need of financial support.