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Selma Cook

Crisis in KenyaThe World Food Program has declared the current drought and famine in Kenya the worst since 2000, as the government of Kenya officially declared the current famine as a national disaster.
Crops have failed and farmers are struggling to keep their cattle alive. The possibility of short rain spells from October to December is the last hope for a nation heading toward disaster.

With other countries in East Africa facing food shortages because of the drought, massive food distribution is essential. Other parts of East Africa are also facing food shortages due to drought.

Countries throughout the Horn of Africa have suffered from drought for many years. As recently as 2005 drought destroyed crops and pasture, and without drinking water or food thousands of livestock died, leaving people without food and with nothing to sell.

In Kenya alone 3.5 million people are affected by the drought and many depend on food aid for survival. Nomadic pastoral communities make up about 50% of the population and these people have been worst hit as they rely on their livestock for survival. The continuing crisis is threatening the way of life of masses of people as many head to urban areas hoping to find food and water.

Even if the rain falls abundantly Kenya's problems will not be over as heavy rains have already caused widespread flooding, sweeping away surviving crops and livestock. The rains have also prevented emergency vehicles reaching the needy. Flood waters also carry water borne diseases, spelling further disaster for both humans and animals. Pulled between hoping for steady rain to provide future harvests, people are also dreading the rain because of flooding and the spread of disease.

Islamic Relief is providing emergency supplies of food, water and health care facilities to people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, hoping to prevent death among those most vulnerable like children, expectant and nursing mothers and the elderly. Islamic Relief has also established water treatment stations to purify water and ensure safe drinking water. It has also set up sanitation services and health care to assist in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. At the same time, Islamic Relief seeks to work with communities to initiate sustainable development programs to reduce people's vulnerability to disasters.

As the drought wreaks havoc across Kenya, sixty-five secondary schools in the North East are closing down because of the famine. Students numbering up to 17,000 are being forced home due to acute food and water shortages. As the prices of food and fuel soars it is unsure when the situation will return to normal.

Many Kenyans are still living in squalid conditions after the post-election violence in 2008 that forced many into refugee camps. Many people are required to share little space with not only their family members, but even total strangers. Lack of privacy along with rampant alcoholism culminates in children being exposed to the drunken behavior of both men and women and many forms of decadence.


With the government reducing food rations, more and more parents are being forced to send their children to live with relatives or to orphanages. Children's chances of receiving adequate nutrition, medical care and education are higher outside the camps and parents hope their children will become better persons if they are not exposed to the decadence of the camps. Now that schools have closed children must spend all their time in their overcrowded polythene homes.


Help Islamic Relief help the needy in Kenya and many other places around the world. Click here: http://www.islamic-relief.com/







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