Appeals & Response Plans
- Kenya: Floods - Mar 2018
- East Africa: Armyworm Infestation - Mar 2017
- Kenya: Floods - Apr 2016
- Kenya: Floods - Nov 2015
- Kenya: Cholera Outbreak - Feb 2015
- Kenya: Drought - 2014-2018
- West Africa: Ebola Outbreak - Mar 2014
- Horn of Africa: Polio Outbreak - May 2013
- Kenya: Floods - Mar 2013
- Kenya: Floods - Jan 2013
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London, 9 July 2012 – One year ago, parts of East Africa recorded the worst rainfall for 60 years leaving more than 13 million people in the grip of a devastating drought.
Thanks to the dedication of its health workers and generous donations from supporters global health charity Merlin raised nearly three quarters of a million pounds, distributed 7,500 tons of food to Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia and saved the lives of thousands of people.
In Kenya, Merlin is working in the arid Turkana region, where the pastoralist population rely on seasonal rains for their survival.
A few years ago, malaria would have been a nurse’s worst nightmare in Nyanza Province, Kenya.
Outbreaks used to be common here. Dennis Ngare, the nurse in charge of Ogango Dispensary, Nyamira District, recalls how on one morning during the long rains of 2005 he arrived at the facility to find over a hundred people waiting for treatment.
Now, as this year‘s rainy season begins, the facility - which is supported by Merlin - has only had two confirmed cases of malaria in the past week.
Merlin is marking its success in Kenya and Somalia and its commitment to developing health services there by creating new posts to give a greater focus to each country.
The international medical charity has been in Kenya since 1998 and in Somalia since 2004.
Since then Merlin’s presence has expanded massively – particularly after East Africa’s worst drought in 60 years left millions in need of humanitarian aid. This week, January 20th will mark six months since famine was declared in Somalia.
Up to 750,000 people face death from hunger in East Africa. Millions more are at risk across the region in the worst food crisis of the 21st century. They will have to bear a legacy of poverty, suffering, and the loss of their livelihoods. Urgent action is needed right now.
But the truth is that this crisis was predicted – and preventable: we already have the knowledge to stop this kind of tragedy from unfolding; we know the steps that must be taken to prevent suffering on this scale.
As part of its Global Food Crisis appeal, Merlin is massively scaling up its work in some of the worst affected areas in the world - Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.
Having worked in east Africa for more than a decade, Merlin’s medical experts are already in place where they are needed most, which means that Merlin can respond immediately to the situation on the ground.
Merlin is training and recruiting more health care workers, extending its existing health care services and making sure that local hospitals are open 24/7 to deal with the most complex cases.
London, 4 July 2011
British-based medical aid agency Merlin is poised to massively scale up its operations in the Horn of Africa, which is in the grip of a severe food crisis.
Merlin has been working in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia for nearly a decade. In many parts of Somalia, Merlin is the only health agency on the ground, providing a vital lifeline for vulnerable communities. Other agencies have left large swathes of the country due to security problems but Merlin has remained, determined and undaunted.
We knew it would be different, visiting Nakapelewoi during a drought that is biting hard across the whole district. Last year in August we stayed there with Nachukuli’s family for a couple of weeks, and our experience was profoundly positive – days spent resting, chatting and picking wild fruits in a riot of noisy children and goats, evenings under the stars with the whole family singing, dancing and storytelling. But as we drove the bumpy kilometres north from Lodwar last week, the landscape confirmed what the statistics and graphic media reports were blaring.
To mark World Food Day, Merlin is calling on the international community to step up support to help the drought-affected communities in the region weather the crisis.
An extended drought, failing crops and the escalating need for food support in East Africa has tipped the delicate balance of food security in the region, putting millions of people at greater risk of malnutrition and disease. Currently at eight million, the number of people in need of food support is expected to reach 12 million.
Clean water sources are also steadily diminishing allowing diseases to gain ground.
"We urgently need more funding here in Turkana. If we don't get it, I may have to apply for a transfer. I don't want to watch children die." Regina, Nutritionist, Lodwar Hospital
Failed rains and failing funds will cost lives
Three years of failed rains have led to a sharp decline in food and a dramatic increase in prices - maize is 33 per cent more expensive today than it was 12 months ago.
Six children have died and many more are sick following an outbreak of Kala-azar, a deadly disease carried by the sand fly, in Wajir, northern Kenya. The disease has spread dramatically since March this year and over 180 cases have been reported across the district.
On-going drought has exacerbated the situation and high levels of malnutrition and low immunity have meant that local communities, especially young children, are vulnerable to the disease.
Kala-azar is the second-largest parasitic killer in the world, responsible for an estimated half-million deaths worldwide each year.
Currently across the globe 800 million people are going hungry each year, with 3.5 million children under five dying as a result of malnutrition. This figure is set to rise as the factors at the root of this crisis show no signs of diminishing.
The increasing occurrence of drought due to climate change, a growth in the production of bio-fuels combined with unprecedented energy prices affecting trade, has led to a huge escalation in the price of food. Certain commodities such as wheat, maize and oils have doubled in price since 2005.
3 March 2008 - A power sharing deal has been reached between the Kenyan government and the opposition, following extended negotiations mediated by Kofi Annan, eminent African Elders and the Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete.
The agreement between President Kibaki and the opposition leader Raila Odinga was signed on February 28th, giving Kenyans hope that the two-month, post-election crisis may soon be over.
Merlin's emergency response continues
Despite the promise of peace, our emergency work will continue.
Top wildlife presenter, Saba Douglas-Hamilton, has joined forces with Merlin, the UK medical aid agency, to raise essential funds for an emergency health intervention in Kenya, following waves of post-election violence.
The incumbent Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga went to poll on December 27th, with Odinga roundly expected to win. Kibaki reclaimed his seat amid cries of vote rigging, dividing a usually peaceful country along tribal and political lines.
In the last twelve days, at least 500 people have been killed and over 300,000 more made homeless.
Merlin warns an emergency medical response will be inevitable if a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Kenya isn't found soon.
Several hundred people have already been killed in mass violence following a disputed election result on 30th December 2007. Mwai Kibaki, the incumbent President, was widely expected to be voted out of office by Raila Odinga, the opposition leader. Kibaki is from the Kiykuyu tribe, Odinga is from the Luo ethnic group.
My name is Ruth, I work in the Merlin communications department, and I have recently returned from Wajir, Northern Kenya, where I saw first-hand the scale of human suffering being caused by the drought currently affecting East Africa.
British medical aid agency Merlin has helped to set up an emergency feeding unit in drought stricken northern Kenya, following a 50 per cent increase in child malnutrition rates.
Donors must increase funding for drought-stricken areas of northern Kenya to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, British medical aid charity Merlin warned today.
International Development Secretary Hilary Benn is today (Tuesday, 17th January) visiting a feeding centre supported by British medical aid agency Merlin in drought-stricken Wajir, northern Kenya.
Merlin, the UK-based medical relief agency, is providing emergency nutrition and health assistance in northern Kenya, where more than two million people have been affected by severe drought.
Rainfall in this region has been below average over the past two years, leading to acute water shortages and high rates of malnutrition among children under five.
Malnutrition, coupled with immunisation rates as low as 33%, has led to a greatly increased risk of communicable diseases such as diarrhoea, while food security continues to hang in the balance.
Sierra Leone - "Medical and Nutritional
support and Disease control" (target population 700,000).
*Why is external healthcare expertise required?
The UN Human Development Index places Sierra Leone bottom of 124 countries surveyed in terms of life expectancy and quality of living. The Healthcare capacity is limited due to conflict and faces demand from large numbers of displaced people. Poverty and overcrowding heightens disease threat.
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