CAFOD has been working in East Africa since our foundation in 1962, providing emergency relief and long-term development projects to some of the poorest people in the world. We work with a wide range of local Catholic and other partners in Kenya and dioceses in the worst-affected areas of Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Many parts of the Horn and East Africa region have experienced two consecutive failed rain seasons. As a result, large areas of Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan are facing a devastating drought. About 10 million people will require emergency relief across the re-gion – for pastoralists who herd animals until the rains in October (if they happen), and for farmers until the next harvest, which is not ex-pected until February/March 2012 (the harvest due in July and August will fail). The United Nations has described the situation in parts of the region as the worst drought conditions in the last 60 years. Our Church partners on the ground say that this is the worst drought in living memory.

The United Nations has declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia, as a devastating drought continues to affect the lives of millions in East Africa.

 “What this means in practice is that millions of people are on the verge of starvation.” says CAFOD’s Nyika Musiyazwiriyo. “If we don’t act now, they will die.”

“More than 100,000 people have already fled Somalia in search of food and water, but many more are in a desperate situation. That’s why we’re working with trusted partners throughout the region to deliver life-saving aid to the most vulnerable.”

“The need for help could not be more urgent”  Bishop John Arnold

To get a sense of what it’s like on the ground, Bishop John Arnold, the incoming Chair of CAFOD’s board of trustees, visited Isiolo in northern Kenya.

The most immediate need is water. And then it’s the question of getting food supplies to the people. This is the third consecutive year of drought. But no-one, not even the eldest members of the Isiolo community, can remember a drought like this one.

 “These are people who have come to the end of

their ability to cope” Bishop John Arnold

” In one community when we asked about food stocks, they held out some small plastic bags with some berries. There were also some nuts from the acacia tree which they feed to the livestock, but most of the livestock is dead…even when the rains come and they can begin to grow their crops again, they have lost all that investment in their future.” 

That’s why Bishop John urges us to act today.

There is lots of excellent information to be found on the main CAFOD website.

There are a number of ways to donate:

 Online, via the CAFOD website

 By telephone: 0500 858 885

 By post, send your cheque to:

 CAFOD, Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JB

Bishop John Arnold in Isiolo (Photo: Joseph Kabiru)

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