KENYA: Bishops Warn of Uncoordinated Relief to Mitigate Drought as Over 4 million In Dire

By Arnold Neliba

MOMBASA, NOVEMBER 11, 2022 (CISA)- Drought emergency relief risks benefiting well-connected individuals at the expense of millions of casualties facing starvation in various parts of the country, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has warned.

In a presser held in Mombasa on November 10, the bishops warned that if the government does not set up a better coordinated multi-agency system of distributing the emergency relief that factors in Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs), then the support may not reach the intended recipients or would take longer to reach them.

“While we commend the Government for its efforts in releasing food relief to those affected by famine in the country, we have received reports that some of this support has not reached the intended recipients or is taking too long to reach them,” the bishops said.

According to the prelates, a well-coordinated system for distributing relief as adopted by KCCB when they launched their drought emergency appeal in May, will help reach the neediest people in the country.

“Our drought appeal is ongoing as the drought situation continues to bite hard. We appeal yet again, to all Christian faithful, our partners and all people of goodwill, to contribute and continue sharing whatever little they have, be it cash or other in-kind donations, to enable us save the lives of the people facing starvation,” said the Catholic bishops.

The bishops also appealed to the government to finance school feeding programs to avoid cases of school dropout and to mitigate future drought-related challenges, the bishops urged the government, other organizations and Kenyans to “study and think through the way to enhance post-harvest food management. This is in view of increasing our food security and providing Food Banks.”

As the world meets in Egypt for the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 27, the Catholic bishops have appealed to the government to implement the commitments made towards mitigating the effects of climate change, which is seen as a major cause of the prolonged drought in the country.

“Our leaders should be deliberate in the war against use of plastics which lead to degradation of the environment, pollution of our rivers and charcoal burning which results in the destruction of trees,” they said as they committed to planting and growing trees and caring for the environment.

According to the October 2022 National Drought Management Authority report, the drought situation continues to worsen in twenty of the 23 ASAL counties in Kenya with 4.35 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.