Salesian missionaries have provided food distribution to 1,000 families in 18 villages during their efforts to assist families affected by the drought in Kenya. More than 3 million people in Kenya are impacted by the worsening drought in East Africa. Little rain has fallen over the last year — affecting sheep and cattle farmers, destroying their livelihoods and causing much suffering for their families.
There is little food available in the market and what is available has risen in price to the point where it’s no longer affordable. The value of livestock has also decreased and many have died or are very weak. Water sources are drying up and significantly impacting the lives of people in the region. Women and children are left vulnerable because many men have left to find water for their families and livestock. In some instances, women must find water themselves, leaving them vulnerable to sexual assault.
In early March, Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the international Salesians of Don Bosco, launched an emergency fundraising effort to support missionaries assisting people affected by severe drought in Kenya. The government of Kenya has declared the country’s devastating drought a national disaster.
Salesian missionaries with the Don Bosco Mission in Korr, located in the north central region of Kenya, have already begun providing food relief with the limited means available. Salesian missionaries are also providing access to clean, safe water from boreholes that have been dug. With food and water supplies running out, Salesian missionaries are relying on donations and financial support to assist with this crisis.
Father Luke Mulayinkal, who oversees the Salesian missionaries’ work at Korr, has reported that the situation of the local people is becoming more and more critical. Fr. Mulayinkal has noted that other humanitarian organizations are reluctant to come into the country to provide aid because Kenya is considered to be a developing nation. It is therefore felt that the government has the resources to deal with the drought. Salesian missionaries are already there, living and working among the people they serve and are perfectly positioned to provide aid to those most in need.
“Although not far into 2017, we are already seeing the effects of the continued drought in our community,” says Fr. Mulayinkal. “There has been no rain at Korr and many areas of Kenya are in need of food and water. At Korr, many children are suffering from vomiting and diarrhea due to the heat, and our medical clinic is working day and night serving the sick and the needy. International aid is critical at this time to help alleviate the suffering of the people here.”
The Don Bosco Mission Korr provides services to nomadic populations in the surrounding community and within Kakuma refugee camp. The camp was established in 1992 near the border with South Sudan as a place of refuge for unaccompanied minors fleeing civil war. Operated by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), with assistance from Salesian missionaries and several other humanitarian organizations, the camp offers refugees safety, security and life-saving services such as housing, healthcare, clean water and sanitation.
Within the surrounding community of Korr, Salesian missionaries provide five outreach locations, a medical clinic, a nursery and primary school, boarding for boys and girls, a youth center and a Catholic parish. They continue to provide these services even as they are challenged by severe food and water insecurity brought on by the drought.
Salesian Missions has launched an emergency fund, the African Drought Crisis, to assist Salesian missionaries who are working to help poor youth and their families affected by this drought and food insecurity in Kenya. To raise money for the fund, the Catholic nonprofit aid organization is issuing an urgent appeal for donations. Donations can be made by going to SalesianMissions.org/African-Drought.