Monday, January 19, 2009

Hakuna chakula na maji

(No food and water)

Though the rains that fell in Kenya on Friday and Saturday were welcomed with relief, they were not enough to help ease the crisis this country is facing. The government has declared a national state of emergency because, in a country of approximately 36 million people, there are 10 million who are in danger of starvation. There is a very real and serious famine here in Kenya right now.

The rainy season this year was not nearly as wet as it should have been, and now the dry season is very dry. When the rains came, crops were planted, but then failed for lack of water. The post-election violence of last year, too, has played a large part in this current crisis, as well. Much of the violence happened when crops were supposed to be planted. Instead, people were driven from their shambas (farms) and fields and homes were burned. Not enough crops were planted, and many grain stores were burned.

In addition, there are still many people in internally displaced people camps as a result of the elections, and the government has declared that they will soon stop food aid to these camps. People are being told to fend for themselves and go home. But where will they go? Their houses were burned and it was their very neighbours who drove them away!

Add to this the rising costs of fertilizers, the general state of the global economy, and rumours of some creating a manipulated shortage. It’s no secret that corruption is a huge problem in Kenya, and many are wondering if the powers that be are withholding grain to drive up the price. Even just this week there have been stories on the news of traders buying up government-subsidized grain and then re-selling it at a higher cost to those who so desperately need it.

And then there is the shortage of water. Because of the lack of rains during November and December, reservoirs are dry, and even here in Nairobi there have been water shut-offs and city-implemented rationing going on for the last few months. Upcountry, the rural areas are really feeling the shortage. Children are being sent home from school because there is no water, livestock are dying, and people are at a loss of what to do. In Korr, a place where water is scarce at the best of time, I can only imagine the situation. In fact, just tonight there was a story on the news about the water shortage in Marsabit, about 80 km north east of Korr, where even camels are dying for lack of water. You know that when camels are dying, things are really, really bad.

Please, pray for Kenya. Pray for rain, for corruption to stop, for food to be fairly distributed. And pray for the people who are struggling just to meet their basic, basic needs for survival.


Tiffany Norris said...

I haven't commented in awhile, but I've been following your exciting journey! I also wanted to let you know I've been praying for you and will now be praying for Kenya as well. Thanks for keeping the blog updated!

nachtwache said...

Praying too.