International Rescue Committee scales up drought response in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia
Nairobi, 07 Jul 2011 - The International Rescue Committee is scaling up relief efforts to aid people hit hard by the drought, the worst in 60 years, that is devastating much of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.
“This is a natural disaster of major proportions,” said Kurt Tjossem, who heads the IRC’s operations in the region. “It’s inflicting enormous suffering on millions of innocent people – in particular young children and the elderly.”
In Dadaab in northeastern Kenya, the IRC is augmenting teams that provide new arrivals at the area’s refugee camps with medical screening and assistance and give fortified food to malnourished young children. More than 30,000 Somalis registered at the camps in June, and the U.N. refugee agency says an additional 1,300 have been arriving daily.
In Ethiopia, the IRC is trucking in water and installing or expanding water-supply systems in camps that currently serve 82,000 refugees, including some 19,000 Somalis who arrived in June.
In central Somalia, the IRC is providing stop-gap water supplies to some 32,000 people, primarily women, children and the elderly who were left behind when the men of their communities left to find water and pasture for their livestock. And with the support of the Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies, the IRC has given cash assistance to 5,600 people who have been displaced by the drought, lost their livestock and had no other means of buying food.
In the Turkana district of northwestern Kenya, the IRC and its aid partners have stepped up nutritional programs for 16,000 malnourished children under the age of 5, as well as 5,000 pregnant and lactating women. The IRC is also supporting the efforts of the Kenyan government and the World Food Program to deliver food where it is most needed.
“Those of us on the frontlines of the relief effort are grateful for the support we are receiving from the rest of the world,” said the IRC’s Kurt Tjossem. “In this drought, the assistance of donors – individuals, foundations, corporations and governments – is for many people truly the difference between life and death.”
Founded in 1933, the International Rescue Committee is a global leader in humanitarian assistance--providing help, hope and opportunity for millions of people affected by conflict or natural disaster in more than 40 countries. For more information, visit http://www.Rescue.org.
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