Millions of families are facing a food crisis that could be worse than any we’ve lived through. In Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan, up to 20 million people are fighting for their lives.
The fourth drought in a row, rocketing food prices and a massive locust infestation have caused a terrifying food crisis. As if this wasn’t challenging already, lasting effects of the pandemic and inflation caused by the conflict in Ukraine, mean basic goods are unaffordable.
The Archbishop of Nairobi in Kenya, Most Reverend Philip Anyolo, explains that malnutrition levels have risen, millions of people are now in need of assistance, and how “it is the Gospel mandate to respond.”
This crisis proves we are connected and that to stop the terrible repeats of famine, we have to act together. The extreme weather, caused by the climate crisis, has made water hard to come by and food extremely challenging to grow.
CAFOD Director Christine Allen recently visited Kenya, to meet with Church leaders and visit communities. As Christine explains, “We drove from Nairobi to Marsabit in the north. This nine-hour drive illustrated the challenges of reaching remote communities in Kenya, who are facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in 40 years.
“Two-and-a-half hours out of Nairobi we passed farms with vegetable-filled polytunnels stretching as far as the eye can see. But so much of this nutritious food will not go to the people of Kenya. This is where our food is grown, for our plates. Nearby, pastoralists were scraping a living from the side of a dangerously busy highway.”
Communities in the north of Kenya have been stretched beyond breaking point. Between October 2021 and March 2022, 1.5 million cattle and sheep died. For pastoralists, livestock are like a savings account – to see them die is the equivalent of having your life savings wiped.
Now, the people themselves are close to starving to death.
The Catholic Bishops of Kenya have launched their own appeal through Kenya’s Church network but are concerned at the lack of interest from the international community.
CAFOD has been working alongside communities across Kenya for over 30 years to help them cope better with emergencies, including three years of drought before this one. This crisis is so bad that now these resilient people and communities are under threat. But we will not give up.
Caritas Marsabit, an inspirational organisation CAFOD works with in northern Kenya, is providing vital assistance. As Christine Allen says, “I saw a distribution where households were getting 15kg of rice, 7kg of beans and a litre of vegetable oil. This is one month’s supply. In other places this amazing agency is arranging water distribution and repairing underground water tanks.”
Please donate to help families and communities in East Africa and around the world and help fight the causes of hunger longer term