Special Appeal for children displaced by drought

by Child Rescue Kenya
Special Appeal for children displaced by drought
Special Appeal for children displaced by drought
Special Appeal for children displaced by drought
Special Appeal for children displaced by drought

Sad to say that prolonged drought across Kenya, in particular the arid northern regions, sees the country facing the devastation that drought brings yet again.  We are already hearing of serious conflicts and banditry in the Turkana region where desperate people are literally fighting for scarce resources, in particular access to rivers.  In the last week there have been many deaths and injuries to local people, bandits and the military.

We are starting to see another influx of people fleeing drought and conflict, all of whom are hoping for a more welcoming climate in Kitale.

We will need help to settle people and find sustainable ways for them to make a fresh start.  Please help.

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Turkana, the large county to the north of our centre of operations in Kitale, is a huge expanse of desert other than a large lake in the middle which is quite salty and full of minerals but a vital water source to those close to it.  Those not on its shores, however, have to contend with ever decreasing rains and dried up rivers.  The search for water to sustain people and livestock (mainly goats) for the traditionally nomadic Turkana people is becoming more and more difficult.  Scarcity of food obviously is a major issue in addition to this.  Years when the rains do not come have driven people south to Kitale in hopes of a better life.  Kitale is in the middle of a facing community and we get regular rainfall.  Yet just 4 hours drive to the north is the desert...

We have welcomed ever increasing influxes of people displaced by drought. We are always hopeful that, with throwing, with assistance from fellow charities drilling wells etc, we can enable some families to return home and to find other means of sustaining themselves.  Many can return with this kind of help.  Others do not feel inined to take the risk and we do what we can go help them to settle in our area and find jobs and housing, schools for their children and vocational training for their youth.  This is not a problem that is going to end.  Drought is no longer something that occurs every few years - this one has lasted several years.  We are thankful for any help to enable families to stay together and find ways to support themselves.

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In December, we were happy to watch a large group of trainees graduate from various courses - hairdressing, tailoring, motor mechanics, plumbing, electrical wiring etc.  Some of those youths came to us from familites that were displaced by drought several years ago.   We have been happy to find ways to put these youths on a path to a sustainable future for them and their families, which also means the younger siblings in the family have more security and more options for education and work in the future.  

Today, 20th June, is supposed to the middle of the rainy season.  I am writing this in Kitale, the centre of the 'breadbasket' of Kenya.  This is a vital farming area producing much of the country's food supply.  However, even here, we have seen very little rain this year.  The rains started over a month later than usual and have been intermittent.  Crops are struggling and farmers are getting seriously worried.  It is even worse north of here in more arid regions where little or no rainfall has been seen.  This state of affairs could not only lead to serious food shortages in the country this year but in all likelihood will see an increase in the number of families and youths who choose to move further south from the exremely drought prone regions of Kenya to to the towns and farmlands around Kitale.  

So, we are bracing ourselves for a potential influx of people who will need some short-term emergency aid followed by a longer term plan of training for job security.

We are hoping we get some real rain soon!

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I look forward to the day when I can write a report stating that we no longer have new children needing our help due to drought and we have finished working with those who have come to us in recent years and havve been assisted...... I can dream.

Sadly, Kenya is still in the midst of the worst prolonged drought in decades.  Rainfall is not meeting the needs of the people living in the northern parts of the country and, like many of the sub Saharan regions, the cumulative effect of several years of drought has been catastrophic.  Not only is the immediate affect of drought devastating to livestock and livelihoods, but it is now clearly apparent that whole ways of life and culture need to be changed to deal with climate change and future drought.

We are now looking at upscaling what we had hoped would be an emergency aid, one-off programme into an ongoing regular part of our work.  We now need to put full-time, long-term measures in place to deal with the constant influx of families and children fleeing from impossible conditions in the arid lands a few hours north of us.  

We can no longer simply hand out temporary aid and relief - this must now be accompanied by longer term strategies and resettlement programmes enabling families to find alternative means to provide sustainable livelihoods to raise their families within.  New farming practices, vocational training programmes, better enrollment in schools - all part of a longer term strategy working alongside emergency short-term rescue and rehabilitation programmes, in addition  to partnerships with other organisations providing boreholes and other water programmes..

For those of us fortunate enough to turn on a tap or a sprinkler, to take a dip in a swimming pool, surely we can donate a little something to provide for those who dream of water?


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Turkana lady selling art and curios in Kitale
Turkana lady selling art and curios in Kitale

When we launched this project, areas like Turkana and Baringo were in the throes of one the worst droughts in memory.  In the years since, rainfall was more reliable and people started to get back on their feet.  The influx of families to Kitale gradually lessened and this gave us more time to help settle those who had been displaced, enter them in schools, vocational training and other sustainable income generating schemes to enable them to either settle around this area or to return with new skills to their former homes.  

Covid caused delays in a lot of our plans and schools and training programmes had to be put on hold but courses have resumed and those families we have been working with are all well underway with regard to training and new businesses.

Unfortunately, we have started receiving worrying reports of drought in the Turkana region north of Kitale and it is likely that, unless there is a rapid improvement in the situation, that we will shortly find ourselves having to repeat the exercise we did a few years ago consisting of emergency rescue and rehabilitation of youths and families who chose to flee their desert homes.  We hope this drought will not be as devastating as the previous one and we sincerely hope that we can reach out to those in need as we did before.

Covid seems very far away for those living in remote regions such as Turkana who have little contact with the major towns and cities.  However, weather patterns and their effect on their lives bring terrible hardships of far more immediate concern to us all.  Please help us to get our emergency preparations underway to work with partner organisations in delivering urgent aid while also welcoming those who are displaced.  Thank you.

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Organization Information

Child Rescue Kenya

Location: Kitale, North Rift - Kenya
Project Leader:
Su Corcoran
Kitale, North Rift Kenya
$8,187 raised of $8,000 goal
152 donations
$0 to go
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Account: GG27395

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