According to the UN, 2.4 million people in Kenya need humanitarian aid immediately. "The drought has had a devastating impact -- millions are on the move looking for food and water," said Matthew Lovick, Mercy Corps’ Africa Director. "Traditional herders and their families have been hit the hardest, and women, children and the elderly are the first ones succumbing to starvation and disease."
Mercy Corps programs, located in northeastern Kenya along the Somali border, are targeted at helping families seeking relief from thirst and hunger. Teams already in place in the region are distributing food and water.
Along with bringing 20-ton water trucks into the area, Mercy Corps is distributing jerry cans so people can transport the water home.
When appropriate, food vouchers are being given to refugee families so they can purchase food from local shopkeepers. This approach has the added benefit of helping the store owners keep their businesses open.
The Horn of Africa drought and hunger crisis is expected to be a growing and a long-lasting disaster, worsening over many months. It is looking to be at least as devastating – and likely worse – than the 1980s Ethiopia drought that killed 1 million people.