Kenya Drought and Famine Update No.1

News and Press Release
Originally published

Dear Friends,
We would like to share with you contents of the following letter from NCCK, expressing concern about the drought situation and the Implementing Partners predicament due to the poor status of funding for the Appeal.


We are very, very concerned regarding the funding issue and the future of this program. Our deepest concern is for the beneficiaries of the program. We are quite dismayed that they might not receive what we have undertaken to provide, and this is underscored by the fact that in many areas, the rains have still not been sufficient resulting in crop failures and ultimately famine and suffering among our people, with no prospect for relief in the near future.

As you know, the assessment team came to evaluate the situation here, and readily agreed that the need was quite evident. Our understanding at that time was that the appeal was being revised in accordance with realistic expectations as to what ACT could fully fund. We undertook this program with the expectation and understanding that it would be fully funded. Accordingly, we have raised expectations among the beneficiaries, and we are most reluctant to fail these people who are so needy and have already suffered so much. Additionally, both CCS and NCCK have entered into short term contracts with necessary staff to ensure that the project is completed efficiently and without interruption. Without full funding, we will be unable to meet our obligations under these contracts, and will be forced to cut further into funds available for food and other relief, or else be forced to renege on these contracts altogether.

CCS has fully committed all of its funds available for implementation of June and July relief work. June food distribution is nearly complete. NCCK is similarly in the process of completing food distribution for June, although funds for July distribution have not yet been committed, and thus there may be some options available to scale back the program to target the neediest of the needy, if necessary, in order to continue the program through September and achieve maximum impact on the lives and health of a smaller subset of beneficiaries.

We would also like to inform you that the Task Force has revisited its decision regarding the allocation of the Dutch Interchurch Aid insurance refund (around US$39,000 which will help provide food to approximately 4,500 people in the Samburu and Laikipia districts, during July and August 97) and has decided to request DIA to commit those funds to the appeal. A proposal to use the refund for areas in the revised appeal has been sent to DIA. We hope that you will take this as a sign of our recognition of funding difficulties, as well as evidence of our commitment to this program. We are fully prepared to assist you in whatever manner you deem might be effective to generate further contributions to the appeal.

We are disappointed to see that no contributions have been received since 16 April, 1997, which is prior to the assessment team visit. We are also confused, as we thought the purpose of the assessment was to reassure some of the donors regarding our capacity to implement this program. lf there is some failure on our part, or if there are further issues that we need to address in order to alleviate donor concerns, we would like to be informed as soon as possible.

We understand that other crises in Africa may have diverted attention from the very real needs in Kenya, but hunger is hunger, wherever it is. We are in the process of preparing an interim narrative report, describing our operations to date, as well as an update on the drought and famine situation. This will be forwarded to you as soon as it is complete, and may be a useful tool to remind donors of the needs in this area.

We look forward to your response and thank you in advance for your assistance regarding this very serious matter.


In addition to the insurance refund, the Co-ordinating Office has obtained authorization for transfer to the current Appeal, an amount of approximately US$ 60,000 - balance from an old 95 Kenya Appeal.

In our response to NCCK, we have also agreed and advised that under the circumstances, further prioritizing and scaling back the program to target the neediest of the needy, would be in order.

However, in view of the critical situation, ACT Members, NCCK and CCS need far greater support to meet their obligation and fulfil their mandate.

Thank you for your attention and support.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact:

ACT Co-ordinator, Miriam Lutz (Phone ++41 22 7916032 or mobile phone ++41 22 89 203 6055)
ACT Appeals Officer, Neville Pradhan (Phone ++41 22 7916035)

Ecumenical Centre, 150 route de Ferney , P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
Phone: ++41 22 791 6033 Fax: ++41 22 791 6506 E-mail: Telex: 415 730 OIK CH