As a humanitarian crisis unfolds in the eastern Horn of Africa ChildFund New Zealand is asking New Zealanders to contribute to an emergency appeal to support children and families affected by the severe and ongoing drought.
Around 8,000 New Zealanders sponsor more than 9,000 children across Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda through ChildFund New Zealand.
Poor rainfall has made this year one of the driest years in the region since 1951. Livestock deaths, crop failure and a steep rise in the price of food staples are endangering the lives of children and families.
In northern Kenya alone the number of deaths and rates of malnutrition have increased dramatically, and the number of people requiring food aid has jumped from 2.4 million to 3.5 million.
ChildFund Kenya reports that 70,000 children and families are affected in the areas it operates. A further 40,000 people in ChildFund-supported communities in Uganda and Ethiopia are also affected.
ChildFund New Zealand chief executive Paul Brown says that ChildFund’s area offices in Kenya are providing immediate essential assistance to families, but that much more is urgently needed.
“In Kenya, water is so scarce that families are walking up to 15 kilometres to find water sources. Combined with a 60 per cent increase in the price of maize it means that families are constantly on the move in search of food. The effect of the ongoing drought is expected to worsen and impact a wider area.
“Children are suffering from acute malnutrition and we need all the help we can get with a humanitarian crisis of this magnitude."
Donations to ChildFund’s Africa Emergency Appeal can be made by calling 0800 223 111 or online www.childfund.org.nz.