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Famine Appeal for North-East Kenya

10 February 2006

There is a serious famine situation in north-east Kenya where Christians are a minority and likely to be overlooked in aid distribution.

Barnabas Fund is appealing for donations to help.

These are the words of a Christian leader in Kenya appealing for help.

"There is very great drought and famine in the country. As a result churches are greatly affected. There is hardly any water for home use, the harvesting failed terribly and still no sign of rain for planting. Can you through the Lord and brothers abroad be able to lend us hand at this demanding time? I am really finding it hard as I go preaching and visiting starving brothers and sisters in the Lord."

Concern increases about the situation in north-east Kenya and the Horn of Africa because of the famine that is afflicting the area. The Kenyan government estimates that 3.5 million people including 500,000 young children face hunger and possible starvation in 25 districts.

The situation has been caused by poor rains over recent months. This has badly hit the farmers and the livestock on which many pastoralists rely for food and income. "Malnutrition rates among children are alarmingly high and the areas have already seen large numbers of livestock deaths," said a government minister. He categorised the outlook as "grim" for many people.

An early response will go a long way towards forestalling a major disaster.

Even if the next rains come on time in March-April the harvest will not be ready until July-August. Barnabas Fund has already sent an advance grant to a Christian organisation working to assist in north-east Kenya to be used to provide maize for hungry Christians. Christians are a majority in Kenya as a whole, but they are a minority in much of the north-east of the country where the famine is centred. Muslims form the majority community in this area, and there are serious concerns that Christian communities may be excluded from general aid distribution. Experience in other countries shows that Christian minorities in Muslim areas tend to suffer disproportionately in any natural disaster.

Local Christian organisations have appealed to Barnabas Fund for aid.

Food, vitamin supplements, clean water and medical packs (including re-hydration products) are among the likely needs. Aid through local Christian groups generally proves to be the best way to provide cost-effective and accountable assistance to the neediest Christians in times of disaster.

Barnabas Fund is closely monitoring the situation in Kenya and the Horn of Africa and also in Tanzania where similar problems are starting to appear in some regions.

Barnabas Fund is appealing for assistance to help Christians in the famine area. All support will be channeled through Christian organisations on the ground.


(At all times please quote project reference 25-608 when you send your gift.)

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