The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Caritas Horn and East Africa appeal to help millions in worst drought for 60 years

Media Image Credits: 
Photo: Cordaid
Event date: 
21 Jul 2011

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand’s appeal for the Horn and East Africa has so far raised close to $50,000 in just over a week.

Caritas Director Mike Smith said a concerted effort is being made by Caritas members around the world to raise funds and direct aid to the places of greatest need.

Over 10 million people, half of whom are children, face starvation in the worst drought in 60 years. The situation is exacerbated by conflict, rising food prices and plummeting livestock values.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is working primarily through Trocaire (Caritas Ireland) and their Horn and East Africa Regional Office, as part of a coordinated Caritas response across Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Trocaire in conjunction with its local partners aims to provide immediate life-sustaining help for 18,000 drought-affected households across six districts in western Kenya. ‘Plans to provide basic food and water for four months will help ensure the people’s survival and prevent erosion of assets,’ says Mr Smith.

In addition, 4,500 pastoral-based households will have their livestock bought for cash. This will relieve the pressure on natural resources and provide an income source for the families. The livestock will be relocated to areas that still have grazing. These herds are planned to be restored to their original owners in four months time after expected short rains.

Affected communities will also be involved in rehabilitating waterholes, harvesting and regeneration of pastures. Drought-resistant seeds will be provided to make the most of the short rains in October. The development of community assets such as water dams will help provide resilience for the future.

Mr Smith welcomes the New Zealand government’s $3 million towards alleviating the crisis, and its decision to allocate $1 million of that through New Zealand aid agencies responding to this crisis.  Caritas is applying for up to $250,000 of these funds.  

‘The gravity of the situation requires a huge response from the international community, as well as measures to address the underlying situations that have led to this crisis,’ said Mr Smith. ‘We are quietly confident that New Zealanders will respond generously to this humanitarian crisis.’

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Tutu ana te puehu - Stirring up the dust