Aid for Somali Refugees in Kenya

July 22, 2011

On July 20, the United Nations declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia. The food shortage is the consequence of a sustained drought that is said to be the worst in more than 50 years. Reports indicate that over 800,000 people have fled Somalia as a result, many seeking refuge in the neighboring countries of Kenya and Ethiopia. In response to the developing crisis, Episcopal Relief & Development will be working through its network of Anglican and Episcopal partners to support the humanitarian work of local organizations such as Ukamba Christian Community Services in Kenya.

Amidst the drought, famine and massive influx of Somali refugees, the Kenyan government has declared a state of emergency. According to recent assessments, national grain stores do not have enough food to supplement the meager reserves of local farmers, whose crops failed this year due to drought. The food needs of several hundred thousand refugees cannot be met without outside assistance. Currently, the government is trying to address the situation by supporting the efforts of local non-government partners, but only a small section of the population is being reached. Most of the feeding programs are focused on school children, excluding parents and those not in school from receiving critical nourishment.

Episcopal Relief & Development’s support will be used to provide food aid (including maize, beans and cooking oil) to as many as 1,320 households in four areas over the next five months. Orphans, widows and the elderly will receive priority during distribution. The program will also support community efforts to prepare the land for the next rainy season, with soil and water preservation measures such as terracing and sand dam construction. Rains are expected between November and December 2011.

Please pray for all those affected by drought and famine in East Africa, and especially for those who have fled their homes in search of food and water for survival. Please also pray for the return of rains, and healthy harvests in the future.

To support the crisis response efforts of organizations like Ukamba Christian Community Services, please make a contribution to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Disaster Response Fund.