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On February 10, 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the current drought in Kenya a national disaster and has appealed to the international community for emergency support. 2.7 million people are affected by the drought which has killed livestock and caused crop failure - creating food shortages. Without livestock and crops, farmers and pastoralists have lost their livelihoods. Additionally, the drought has made clean water even more scarce.
Among the 2.7 million affected, are over 412,000 children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years old and over 43,500 pregnant and lactating women who need emergency treatment for acute malnourishment. Children in the most affected regions are dropping out of school to help their families in search of water and food. Cases of water-borne diseases like cholera are increasing, and the situation is expected to worsen by the day.
Amref Health Africa is already responding through many of its existing programs that include emergency drought activities, but so much more needs to be done. Our planned response to this crisis includes:
Providing 10,000 liter water tanks to 60 schools, health facilities and community centers
Drilling and equipping new boreholes and wells that will act as long-term water sources for affected communities
Training community volunteers to promote safe hygiene and sanitation practices to their neighbors and introducing safe hygiene and sanitation practices into school curriculums to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases
Distributing over 1 million chlorine tablets that will treat water and make it safe for drinking and bathing
Distributing therapeutic food to malnourished children, pregnant and lactating women and the elderly
Providing emergency medical services in hard-to-reach areas