Since the East Africa Crisis hit the headlines WJR has been appealing to assist millions of people across the Horn of Africa facing severe food shortages. Sadly, over 12 million people across Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti are still in need of assistance with famine expanding in Somalia while the food security emergency is deepening in the rest of the eastern Horn.
The area traditionally experiences two rainy seasons a year. The late 2010 rains failed completely and the April-May rains were significantly below average and very weak crop harvests ocurred as a result. With decreased amounts of grain available prices rose sharply, further restricting those with few resources to be able to purchase sufficient supplies. Livestock prices have collapsed, reducing people's traditional capital asset value and ability to buy essentials.
Insecurity, the loss of grazing fodder, dried up water supplies and the absence of locally available staple foods is forcing thousands of individuals to move to areas where supplies may be available. An estimated 3,000 people a day are arriving from Somalia in neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia seeking assistance. In Dadaab, Kenya, for example, already the world's largest refugee camp - built to house 90,000 is today seeing its population of over 400,000. Refugees are spilling out into overflow areas around the main camps, where camp workers struggle to help them. It is reported that up to 10% of the children are showing signs of severe acute malnutrition.
The UN has reported that the situation is the worst food security crisis in the world today. Not only are they facing hunger, but the loss of livelihoods of farmers and pastoralists, as well as putting the lives of hundreds of thousands of children at risk
Our appeal has already allowed us to provide the assistance detailed below, with more assistance ongoing:
Purchasing 41 metric tonnes of UNIMIX (a high energy corn soya blend product) through the Kenya Red Cross, providing 2,500 children with a supplementary (possibly their only) meal in school for 6 months. This will encourage the kids to remain in school and significantly supplement their families' food income. Schools in Turkana, Pokot, Samburu, Moyale, Isiolo, Marsabit, Makueni, Machakos and Kitui will be the main recipients.
Providing Greenhouse Farmers Kits, through The Kenya Red Cross, produced by an Israeli company in Nairobi to 13 schools in northeast Kenya. Using gravity based drip irrigation, the kits enable local food production on a sustainable basis managed by school committees. This intervention will play an integral role in drought risk reduction. Beneficiary communities in addition to dietary food will have more disposable income as a result of earnings from sale of the vegetables and can cope more easily with incoming disasters.
Purchasing 15,000 sachets of high protein peanut paste, through UNICEF Kenya and UNICEF Ethiopia, for severely malnourished displaced children. This will enable us to support 200 children for a month. In Kenya, UNICEF are working in 26 districts and in Ethiopia they have 8,105 sites for the feeding programme, this ensures we are supporting a wide reaching programme.
WJR has also been working with COTRR (Community Organisation and Training for Risk Reduction), a local NGO in Kenya, to provide support to the town of Suswa in the Narok District. The town is located on the floor of the Rift Valley, meaning that it is prone to both flooding and drought, and is also blighted by having volcanic soil (making water retention very difficult) and a population with a 20% HIV rate (by conservative estimates).
The project WJR is supporting will build resilience and support livelihood development in the town, through a variety of methods including: