The Salvation Army Launches Famine Relief Program in Kenya
Kenya (October 18, 2011) - The Salvation Army's Kenya East Territory has begun a three-month famine relief program in Isiolo District, at a cost of 13.5 million Kenyan shillings (US$136,000). The territory is partnering with The Salvation Army's International Emergency Services to provide assistance.
In the first phase of the exercise 5,000 people were given enough food to last a month. Identified families received a 50-kilogramme bag of maize and three liters of cooking oil. The Salvation Army team is trying to source beans which can be added to future packages. Distribution took place at eight different centers across the Isiolo East and Central government divisions. The aid was focused on the most vulnerable people, including the elderly, nursing mothers and people with disabilities.
Hundreds of locals thronged the distribution points, braving the heat of the day for hours as the distribution team worked hard to get the set portions to the identified distribution points. The officers, local officers and Salvationists participating in the exercise put in every effort to ensure that the process went smoothly.
The beneficiaries were delighted with the assistance, with some saying it was the first time they had received such amounts of food. “We usually receive maize that only lasts a couple of days,” said one.
Clouds of dust from the wasted land filled the air as people took away their food. Donkeys, human backs, bicycles, motorcycles were all used. Boda-boda (public transport motorcyclists) operators touted for business around the distribution areas in the hope of being hired by beneficiaries to take their food home.
The Salvation Army’s intervention comes in the wake of a hard-hitting drought that has left the Horn of Africa suffering severe famine. The situation has been declared a national disaster in Kenya, with environmental specialists stating that this is the worst drought to hit the region in 60 years.
Funding is in place for the current project but further funds are being sought to deal with the ongoing crisis.
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About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar spent is used to carry out those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.