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Plan launches $15 million emergency response in Kenya

Families line up to receive food aid at a Plan feeding center.
Families line up to receive food aid at a Plan feeding center.
July 21, 2011

Plan is launching a $15 million aid operation for families in Kenya affected by the East Africa drought. Plan’s emergency teams will distribute food and water to over a quarter of a million children and expectant mothers in 6 districts.

Emergency assessments have found that more than 27,400 sponsored children are affected by the crisis, which is around 38% of total sponsored children in Kenya. Latest assessments have found the situation to be worse than previously believed.

Immediate aid in Kenya will target around 260,000 people, including sponsored children, and will involve trucking in water, water treatment, medicine, and delivering therapeutic feeding (nutrition) programs, supplementary feeding at 414 schools, shelter and hygiene promotion. Plan will start urgent work in the Tharaka, Machakos, Kilifi and Kwale areas where it has existing program units (PUs) and also in the non-PU areas of Samburu and Kitui counties.

"In a week when famine has been declared in southern areas of Somalia, we must act immediately if we are to avert the same serious situation in Kenya," said Regional Director of Plan in Eastern and Southern Africa, Gezahegn Kebede.

Recent reports from the field are painting a disturbing scene of families coping with malnutrition and waterborne diseases. A health facility at Maralal which has been handling increasing cases of malnutrition reported rapid rise in pneumonia among children who have to walk up to 13 miles and line up at the well throughout the night to fetch water for their families.

Schools are also experiencing serious shortage of food with 90% of them reportedly overwhelmed by declining supplies.

Severe problems are visible with increased death of livestock. In Samburu and Maralal carcasses of animals in different stages of decomposition can be seen in the fields. Food prices have skyrocketed and the going trade-price of one 200-lb bag of maize meal is now three goats (increased from the usual one).

In addition to concerns over immediate welfare and malnutrition, there are worries over child protection with families being separated, children having to travel far from home to earn food money, and feared increases in child labor, school dropout and even child marriage.

In addition to immediate aid, Plan will focus on child protection, conflict management and peace building.

Regional Director of Plan in Eastern and Southern Africa, Gezahegn Kebede, said: “We are in a situation where children are exposed to the highest level of neglect due the current drought and food crisis. It is with deep concern today that the situation of most children in Kenya remains critical due to hunger, malnutrition, physical and mental abuse due to this current crisis.

“There is a high risk of child mortality, disease outbreaks including measles, acute watery diarrhea and pneumonia. There is also a risk of children being exposed to other forms of abuses such as injury as they scramble for food; sexual abuse as they stay in densely populated shelters and in the streets. It is the obligation of all of us to ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the survival and protection of every child.”

The Horn of Africa drought crisis has been triggered by repeated, long-term droughts, rising global food prices, land issues and conflict in the region. An estimated 10 million people are seriously at risk. Plan also has emergency work ongoing in Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Donate today to help children and families affected by drought in East Africa.


Information for sponsors

At this time, there is no information available about how many sponsored children have been affected. We will contact sponsors directly if we receive any news about individual sponsored children.

If you are planning a visit or have any particular concerns around this issue, please contact our Donor Relations staff at or at 1-800-556-7918.


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