Six Million Kenyans Need Immediate Famine Relief

Caritas Appeals for Aid

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 1, 2004 ( Caritas Internationalis launched a $247,000 appeal for famine relief in Kenya to aid the hardest hit of the drought and poverty-stricken country.

The appeal would fund a program in eight Kenyan dioceses. Priority will be placed on urgent food intervention and the provision of water, seeds for farmers and food for schools and children under five. Programs providing food for work and cash for work will also be established.

Years of drought, one of the most serious recorded in Kenya, long or short periods of rainfall, farmers losing their livelihoods and increasing poverty levels are among the causes of the famine.

In many parts of the country up to 80 percent of the crops have failed. Last month alone Caritas estimated that six million Kenyans were in need of food relief.

Last month, the Midwestern diocese of Nakuru also launched an urgent food appeal to the government and the international community, noting the absolute lack of food of thousands of families in the area.

The diocese’s Justice and Peace Commission added that there was further difficulty with speculation on the markets, especially the unstable price of cereal.

The situation might worsen in the next few months if the rains forecasted for the end of the year are as sparse as the previous.

Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organizations present in over 200 countries and territories.

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