Kenya: Australian High Commissioner's Turkana Tour

Turkana drought relief program in northern Kenya. Residents of Nanaam village receive relief food. The food is distributed to individuals by fellow local community members.
The Australian High Commissioner to Kenya, Philip Green, has expressed his satisfaction in the distribution of emergency relief food provided by donor countries through the World Food Programme (WFP) for the drought-affected people in Turkana District, northern Kenya.

Speaking during a tour of the district early this week (June 12 and 13), Green said he was happy to hear from the intended beneficiaries that the food was reaching them and that it had helped to improve their health condition.

He commended the WFP, the local District Commissioner (government official), World Vision and the other NGOs involved in the distribution of the food for the smooth collaboration in the undertaking. World Vision is the lead agency in the distribution in Turkana District (and also in two other districts) of emergency food provided by the WFP and Kenya Government.

"I am impressed by the coordination of the WFP, the Government, World Vision and the other agencies involved in the food distribution," he said.

Noting that Australia was the first country to respond to the WFP appeal for emergency relief food for the drought-affected people in Turkana, Mr. Green said he was happy to witness distribution of the food.

"From an Australian perspective, I am happy to see Australian food being distributed," said Mr. Green.

Urging the agencies involved in food distribution in Turkana District to keep up their good work, Mr Green described the district as a good an example to other districts where emergency food distribution was taking place.

Mr. Green, who was accompanied by among others the WFP Deputy Country Director, Mr. David Fletch, visited various centres where he talked to members of a fishermen's cooperative, a women mat and basket making cooperative and witnessed relief food distribution.

Local community members he talked to appealed to donors to consider funding long term programmes in the area so as to enable them to produce their own food so that they do not have to depend on relief food supplies.

He said the visit had provided him with an opportunity to see areas of need in the district. "What I have seen will be recommended to the Australian Government," he added.

Turkana District Commissioner, Mr. Peter Mooke, said the whole of the district was now in emergency drought status, with many people having lost all their livestock. He thanked countries that had donated food for distribution in Turkana District and gave the assurance that the food was going to those it was intended for.

World Vision Kenya Operations Director, Mr. Gerald Wagana disclosed that Australians sponsored 16,000 needy Kenyan children and that Australia also gave additional assistance to Kenya through various development and relief programmes.

He added that World Vision has been working in collaboration with the WFP since the 1992 drought in northern Kenya and that World Vision was the first NGO to be given the opportunity to distribute Kenya Government and WFP food this year.

A total of 331,000 people, out of the district's population of 447,000 are currently receiving emergency relief food. Over 10,000 metric tons of food have been distributed in the district since last March. Each person receives 13.8 kilogrammes of maize, 2.4 kilogrammes of pulses and 0.75 kilogrammes of edible oil per month.

Mr. Green was accompanied on his tour by the WFP Deputy Country Director for Kenya, Mr. David Fletcher, Turkana District Commissioner, Mr. Peter Mooke, Turkana South MP, Mr. Francis Ewaton, World Vision Kenya Operations Director, Mr. Gerald Wagana and the Drought Management Office at the Arid Lands Management Project, Mr. Alois Lentoimaga.

=A9 2000 World Vision Australia