Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta


Driest year in horn of Africa since 1995

Driest year in horn of Africa since 1995

Food crisis widens: the Order of Malta distributing emergency food in Kenya

The food crisis at the Horn of Africa continues to affect 12.4 million people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Malnutrition and mortality rates are extremely high in many regions. The latest report of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warns: ‘Humanitarian organisations are struggling to cope with the influx of Somali refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya. Malnutrition and mortality rates are alarmingly high.’

International aid is coming in from the UN World Food Programme, from the United States, France, United Kingdom. The Order of Malta is on the ground in north eastern Kenya, providing food aid and supporting local populations. Ute Kirch, emergency relief coordinator for the Order of Malta’s international relief service, Malteser International, explains: “People here live traditionally on livestock, but pastures have driedup, the cattle are dying, and there’s no more food – they have used up all their reserves.”

The need is great
Last week, the Order of Malta started its first phase distribution of food items – tonnes of rice, beans and oil – in four villages in the Marsabit district of Kenya, near the border with Ethiopia – to a population of 17,000. A fifth village is scheduled for distribution in the coming week.  

– In Segel, 30 km from Marsabit, 49 herder families have received food aid. The families have come from a different region, as there was no more food for the cattle where they lived.

– In Laisamis – between Marsabit and Isiolo – food has been distributed to almost 3,000 people. At greatest risk: undernourished children, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, the elderly, the sick, and those with special needs. They have received an additional protein- and vitamin-enriched supplement. As the registration process in the local health centre continues, the number of residents receiving aid will increase.

– In Sakardala, 12 km from Laisamis, with 2,000 inhabitants, food items have been distributed to critical groups – elderly residents and their families – with more target groups to be added in the coming days.

– In Kargi, about 75 km from Marsabit, the Order’s medical teams are in the process of registering those needing aid. It is already evident that the need is great.

The Order of Malta is working towards a sustainable approach in the region.


How to help
Every donation, however modest, is most gratefully received. It will mean the Order of Malta can continue to give support to those who are suffering, to prevent them dying of starvation.
You can donate via our international relief service website:

Or directly to:
Malteser International
Bank account: 2020270
Pax-Bank Cologne
IBAN DE74 3706 0193 0002 0202 70
Mark your donation: “Food crisis East Africa”

The Order of Malta’s international emergency relief organisation, Malteser International, has been working in Kenya for the past ten years, including providing assistance in Marsabit in the 2009 crisis, where it was able to save numerous lives.