Wednesday, 12 November 2008

KENYA: Diocese Appeals for Food Relief as Famine Worsens

ISIOLO, October 21, 2008 (CISA) -In parts of Isiolo Catholic Diocese, people hit by famine have resorted to eating wild fruits which take up to 12 hours to cook.This is happening in Daaba area, following prolonged drought in the semi-arid diocese in Eastern Province.The diocesan Development Coordinator, Stephen Olate, told CISA that the most desperate areas are Merti and Sericho divisions.He said children under the age of five, pregnant mothers and the sick are most vulnerable to the food shortage.Strategic rangelands and boreholes to which the community resorts to support the livestock are of little help because it has not rained since March.“The people have started moving to neighbouring districts in search of food and pasture, causing conflicts over scarce resources,” he said. Olate said three weeks ago some people were killed in Koom.The government’s emergency food programmes reaches only about 30 per cent of those who need relief.Olate said his diocese was appealing to the government and donors to respond adequately and not to “wait until the situation gets out of hand like it happened in 2005 and 2006.” Over 5 million Kenyans are facing famine.Some 80 per cent of the people of Isiolo are pastoralists. According to 2006 statistics, the diocese has a total population of 116,000, including 27,000 Catholics.

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