HOTLINE - week of July 25, 2011

Focus on Kenya: CWS responds to East Africa's devastating drought, CWS disaster recovery workshops follow emergency assistance.

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“This is the last of my food. We only have enough food for one meal a day now, and that goes for all people in this area,” says Lucia Muvili Ngotho from Kalimbui village in Mwingi, northeast Kenya.
Photo: ACT/Laurie MacGregor

Focus on Kenya: CWS responds to East Africa’s  devastating drought

Food security – the access to and availability of food – has virtually disappeared in many regions of East Africa, most critically in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. More than 10 million people in all are affected by the most severe drought to hit the Eastern Horn of Africa since 1995.

In Kenya alone, up to 3.5 million people are suffering the effects of the climatic disaster – including acute malnutrition, failed crops, perishing livestock and skyrocketing food prices. Last week, the United Nations declared that famine exists in two areas of southern Somalia, where the rate of malnutrition among children exceeds 30 percent. In all, some 3.7 million Somalians are now facing this drought-driven crisis.

Church World Service is providing immediate relief and long-term assistance in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

CWS’s direct efforts will target the hard-hit Mwingi and Kibwezi areas of Kenya, where efforts include emergency food relief for families, supplemental feeding for children under five years old and water provision via tanker trucks for a period of five months. Longer-term CWS efforts will include food security/livelihood recovery programs and construction of permanent water systems, in addition to current CWS disaster risk reduction efforts in Kenya.

CWS and other ACT Alliance members are targeting some 97,526 Kenyan households with various emergency response and drought recovery interventions. The bulk of ACT response is focused on Somalia, a country with little other than NGO support.  Though CWS will be responding directly only in Kenya, Donna Derr, who heads CWS’s development and humanitarian assistance program, says it is the agency’s hope “to generate enough support so that we can contribute to the efforts of ACT members responding in Somalia and Ethiopia as well.”

CWS-supported work in Somalia will initially provide emergency food and nutritional supplements, water and sanitation, shelter and psychosocial support for some 94,000 persons in the Gedo region and some 358,000 refugees at three border camps at Dadaab. Post-crisis support will include livelihood-related assistance such as seeds, livestock and income-generating activities.

In Ethiopia, CWS-supported work will include emergency food for more than 68,000 people in the Gasara and Saba Boru districts, including nutritional supplements for children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

CWS will provide $1.2 million in assistance to help the millions of people facing the relentless drought crisis in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, (Please specify Appeal #642-L).

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CWS disaster recovery workshops follow emergency assistance

Hundreds of people affected by spring flooding or tornadoes have attended Recovery Tools & Training workshops led by CWS staff in Missouri, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and Massachusetts in recent weeks. The trainings are open to community and faith-based leaders, groups, individuals – anyone dedicated to helping rebuild homes and lives.

On June 1, two violent tornadoes swept through western and central Massachusetts, killing three people and causing millions of dollars in damage. Within a few days, CWS shipped 6,000 Hygiene Kits to Southbridge, Mass., for those displaced by the storms. And CWS Emergency Response Specialist Joann Hale conducted workshops last week in Springfield and Southbridge, Mass., to help participants learn to coordinate and facilitate recovery in their communities.

In Birmingham, Ala., a July 11 workshop brought together more than 130 participants from communities affected by the April 27 Birmingham-Tuscaloosa tornado. They came to hear CWS’s Bryan Crousore share tips on “finding the money, muscle and materials for recovery.”

CWS is working to raise a total of $280,000 to help the people and communities hit hardest by this spring’s disasters.

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