Thou­sands raised to aid East Africa drought vic­tims

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY BEN WEICH

A JEWISH aid agency is dis­tribut­ing food to drought vic­tims in East Africa after an ap­peal to the UK Jewish com­mu­nity raised more than £180,000.

World Jewish Re­lief (WJR) launched its East Africa Food Cri­sis Ap­peal on March 17 to pro­vide food and wa­ter and es­sen­tial med­i­cal sup­plies in So­ma­lia, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Su­dan.

Drought, poor rains and con­flict have ru­ined har­vests, leav­ing mil­lions in the re­gion mal­nour­ished and in need of med­i­cal sup­port. The or­gan­i­sa­tion said 16 mil­lion peo­ple still need “im­me­di­ate help”.

Paul An­ti­coni, WJR chief ex­ec­u­tive, thanked the Jewish com­mu­nity for its gen­eros­ity, but said the vic­tims’ needs are still “strato­spheric”:

Mr An­ti­coni said: “With their har­vests dec­i­mated, mil­lions of chil­dren are mal­nour­ished and in ur­gent need of food and wa­ter. Our com­mu­nity must con­tinue to help peo­ple on the brink of star­va­tion.”

WJR said farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties had been hit the hard­est by the drought and sub­se­quent famine.

A spokesman said: “Farm­ers’ in­comes have been re­duced be­cause their live­stock have died in the drought and they now have noth­ing to sell.

“In ad­di­tion, the price of grains, like maize and wheat, have spiked be­cause of food scarcity. As con­di­tions have wors­ened, many of the farm­ers who pre­vi­ously led no­madic lives in ru­ral ar­eas are now set­tling in small vil­lages, putting fur­ther pres­sure on pre­cious re­sources like food and wa­ter.”

WJR hu­man­i­tar­ian man­ager Mireille Flores, who is cur­rently in Kenya, said: “It has been so hum­bling to see the dif­fer­ence the Jewish com­mu­nity’s help is mak­ing to peo­ple liv­ing in such des­per­ate cir­cum­stances.

“The vic­tims are de­hy­drated, hun­gry and de­pressed. They quite lit­er­ally do not know where their next meal is com­ing from or whether their chil­dren will sur­vive the night.”

Wa­ter is de­liv­ered to vil­lagers in Malka Mari, Kenya

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