Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Mandera residents yesterday came out in large numbers from all over the town and it's sorrounding areas irrespective of clan affiliations and previous clashes to pray for rain as drought and famine continues to bite.

The region is seriously hit this time and residents complain of little of government assistance in curbing famine which it declared a national disaster. The Kenyan Govenment officials only comes when several people die and the situation is out of control.

On the day that G20 leaders meet in London, millions of poor children in countries like Kenya were already facing hunger and malnutrition. Save the Children estimates that there are up to 100,000 more malnourished children in Kenya today as a result of last year's rise in food prices.

The agency has launched a US$5 million emergency appeal in Kenya, because food shortages have reached crisis point, and even worse, expected to last for at least a year unless urgent action is taken. Efforts to help Kenya's children must be matched by decisive action by the G20 leaders, so that poor countries can weather the global recession.

Although Kenya is perceived as one the more developed African nations, severe drought has further contributed to the crisis, as well as rising fuel prices and a drop in tourism.

Timira Mohammed, aged 30, from North-East Kenya, recently lost her five-year-old daughter, Fariha to hunger and drought. She said: "Fariha's death was definitely caused by hunger. That's why she wasn't strong enough to fight the malaria and diarrhoea. My children are often sick and sometimes we can't afford drugs to make them better. My family has to go hungry a lot and many of us in the village have to drink from the water pans which are used by the animals. People are always getting sick because of the water."

Timira believes many more in the area will die without help. She said: "Food prices have gone up which is a real problem. A kilogram of rice was only 100 shillings a few months ago but now it has doubled and the same has happened with milk." An estimated 4 million people in Kenya face acute food shortages for the next year as they live in areas hit hardest by the drought and food prices.