Nigukuyia Kingarir and Pirias Shukuru
Piria Shukuru walked for one and a half hours to reach the food distribution site in Oiti, Kenya last week. The young mother of three small children and five teenagers was happy to do it.
“Before the food arrived, the situation was bad. There was no food in the markets and we had to travel far to buy food. This food [from CRWRC] is keeping us strong,” she said.
She needs her strength. Piria, like many in her community, is a herder who makes her living through livestock. While she is used to the nomadic lifestyle of moving to new locations to find water and pasture for her animals, this year is different. Traditional sources of water have dried up. She now walks nearly 20kms to find the nearest source of water.
“When we do start to move the animals, where should we go?” she wonders. “Everything has changed.”
The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) is helping families like Piria’s. Last week, CRWRC provided 175 metric tonnes of maize and 35 metric tonnes of peas to 3,500 Kenyan families at seven different distribution sites as part of its East Africa Drought response.
Many parts of East Africa are experiencing the worst drought conditions of the past 60 years. More than 10 million people are affected – especially in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya. Through funding commitments from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, ACT Alliance, Canadian Churches in Action, and other organizations and the generous contributions of churches and individuals, CRWRC plans to provide $9 million in emergency aid between August and December 2011. This response will include food supplies and drinking water, as well as fodder for livestock. This essential aid will reach 112,000 Kenyans, 22,200 Ethiopians and 10,800 Somalis, for a total 145,000 people.
Within Kenya, CRWRC is providing direct aid as well as food-for-work projects such as building water catchments, planting trees, and growing grass for livestock. These projects will help communities withstand future times of drought. A CRWRC disaster risk reduction specialist is also working with drought-affected communities to help them assess their resources and develop preparedness plans that will reduce the impact of future disasters and improve their likelihood of long-term survival.
Nigukuyia Kingarir is another woman who received aid at the Oiti distribution last week. The mother of three adult children and the grandmother of six walked 10 kilometers to reach the distribution site. She also participates on a food-for-work project to build a sand dam that can be used to retain water during the rainy season.
“We have learned that all tasks are divisible,” she said. “If you have enough people working together, you can do anything.”
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