NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) — Catholics in Nairobi delivered a convoy of aid to the dioceses of Isiolo and Marsabit, where thousands are facing a severe drought.
The convoy, carrying 80 tons of food and supplies valued at nearly $78,000, included items donated by parishes in the Archdiocese of Nairobi, following an appeal by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops in February. The diocese also sent $16,500 in cash.
Bishop Anthony Ireri Mukobo of Isiolo told Catholic News Service that the convoy was “a real Lent. It’s going to save lives.”
“We are now embarking on distributing the food in parishes,” he added. “Some of the neediest areas are distant and the roads are poor.”
He said more relief would be needed because the drought was expected to continue.
As the convoy left March 17, Nairobi Cardinal John Njue said the bishops had decided to mobilize for food aid because the drought had hit half of the counties in Kenya.
“I extend my appeal to Christians and the people of goodwill to … continue donating funds, food and nonfood items to save lives,” he said.
Stephen Kituku, national director of Caritas Kenya, said the appeal was ongoing because the forecast showed that the drought was not likely to end soon. At least 3 million Kenyans need food aid.
“The situation is grave, but we will continue mobilizing for support to ensure that no one goes hungry,” he said.
In most affected regions, rains have failed for two seasons, resulting in wide crop failure, acute water shortages and a decline in animal productivity. Food security and nutrition issues have overcome some people’s ability to cope.
On Feb. 10, Kenya declared the drought a national disaster.
In Marsabit, Father Ibrahim Racho, the diocese’s vicar general, said most of population is affected by the drought and more than 60 percent of animals are dead.
“The water scarcity worsens each day, as boreholes continue to break down due to over use. Nearly all dams and pans have dried up,” Father Racho told CNS.
He highlighted an urgent need for food, animal feed, water and medicine.
The priest said he feared delivering relief food, without consulting the community, might not solve the problem, since some people might not find the kind of food they can eat.
“Cash dispatches have worked very well, since the people can buy the can of the food they can eat,” said Father Racho.
Kituku said church officials were discouraging the delivery of food aid in some areas where the people are still strong.
“We want to use cash for work or food for work or work for assets. When they help dig a dam or pan, that builds the asset of the community. When the rains come, water fills in the dam or pan, and the community benefits from it over time,” he said.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103