Save Kenya: Saba Douglas-Hamilton helps launch Merlin's emergency health appeal for Kenya

from Merlin
Published on 18 Jan 2008 View Original
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. With limited clean water and depleted medical supplies, Merlin warns that many parts of Kenya are now dangerously close to a health emergency.

Saba is a Kenyan citizen and currently lives in the Rift Valley.

She commented:

'Our country is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis and we must do all we can to prevent it. Vast numbers of people have fled their homes: we're sheltering three families on our farm, giving them food, clothing, shelter and medical care. They came to us from Eldoret where their homes had been looted and burned to the ground. They had nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Like me, many Kenyans are devastated that this could happen in our country. Everyone was optimistic about the election, feeling our vote had the power to change things. We're now bitterly disappointed and feel we've lost an opportunity for democracy.

But there is hope. While the politicians remain deadlocked in their struggle for power, Kenyans are reaching out and helping one another. Even the very poor are giving what they can - a spoon, clothing, maize, or feeding a child. I am proud that the people of my country are coming together, but we need help from aid agencies like Merlin to get back on track.

Thousands have lost their homes. They need food, clean water and medicines. Merlin is delivering vital health care and supplies but your support will let them reach even more, because there are many, many people who still really need our help. Please donate as much as you can afford at now. Thank you.'

Merlin is launching an emergency health intervention in Kisii, one of the worst-affected areas, bringing essential vaccinations, bed nets and food supplies.

Wubeshet Woldemariam, Merlin's Country Director in Kenya said:

'Food and clean water supplies are now running dangerously low, especially in and around Kisii. People are being forced to drink unsafe water, risking diarrhoeal diseases, infection and dehydration. The longer the crisis continues, the greater the risk to people's health. We're especially concerned given recent news that protests will resume next week. If peace isn't restored swiftly, disease outbreaks and severe dehydration are very real threats.'

Carolyn Miller, Chief Executive of Merlin said:

'We desperately need extra funding to help bring medicines and doctors to those in need. Please give generously. Even donating just =A35 can help Merlin to save a life.'