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September 19 2011 | KENYA

Drinking water and food in the districts hit more severely by the drought: a new convoy of humanitarian aid to the North of Kenya

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The dramatic situation caused by the drought in the North of Kenya persists. Thanks to the generous response to our appeal for aid, the intervention of the Community of Sant’Egidio has now been enlarged and embraces also other affected areas. 

New convoys with humanitarian aid, with approximately 11 tons of food and drinking water have been sent to three areas which are particularly hit by the drought.

We are in the north of Kenya, not far away from the border with Ethiopia. The first areas we reached were Baragoi and South Horr, at ca. 700 km north from Nairobi, in the district of North Samburu.

Here the population lives in small villages, often difficult to reach, spread out in the typical African savanna. The drying of the water sources in the whole region deprived the population completely of food and also the little of farming, mainly of goats and camels, is threatened by the lack of water. Entire families composed by up to ten persons live in huts, mostly constructed with makeshift material. The poverty is worsened by a difficult ethnic balance, with continuous clashes between samburu and turkana, both claiming the scarce resources available.

Upon the arrival of the truck with the humanitarian aid, the children immediately surrounded us. In their hands they held all kinds of recipients: bowls, basins, cans, even old plastic cups, and they asked us to give them to drink.

The mission then continued up to the North, towards the western coast of the Turkana Lake, to the village of Loyiangalani.

In the middle of the isolated stone desert, with some rare trees, live approximately 8.000 persons, divided in small settlements with primitive huts. In the past four years it has rained only twice, and only for a very limited time. The salt water of the lake can’t be used, and thus the local people are forced to live as semi-nomads, trying to exploit the poor water resources of the area. Fishing is becoming more difficult since new species of fish have been added to the lake, upsetting the traditional composition of the fish farming, which up to now had guaranteed basic nutrition to the local people. The soil composition doesn’t allow any agricultural activity.

Currently the distribution of goods continues in this area, thanks also to the collaboration between the Community of Sant’Egidio and the network of missions of the Consolata Fathers present in this region.

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