East Africa: Delivering Food to Unreached Villages

AAR JAPAN has been carrying out relief operations in areas of Kenya affected by the ongoing drought. On November 2nd, we distributed relief supplies to 500 households in the Yahasley settlement in Garissa, northeastern Kenya. Each relief package contained food such as rice, spaghetti and beans, as well as daily necessities such as a bucket, soap and a plastic sheet. Since neither the Kenyan government nor any other aid organization has as yet been able to reach this village to provide relief, our support was truly appreciated.

A woman from the village, Ms. Gamana (when asked her age, she said “100”) came to settle in Yahasley about 2 months ago. She used to have a herd of 1,000 goats, but it shrank to as few as 50 as a result of the ongoing drought. She still hopes to raise more goats and resume her nomadic lifestyle. It is an hour’s walk to get water from the river. “Thank you so much for coming all the way to this settlement,” Ms. Gamana told us. “I am very happy.”

November 2nd, 2011 – A woman comes to receive relief supplies with her baby in her arms.
Mr. Isa, 31 years old, is a father of 3 children aged 4, 2 and 1. He used to live as a nomad, but all his livestock, comprising 7 cows and 10 goats, died in August, forcing him to settle in Yahasley in September. Now he is making ends meet by selling charcoal or working as a day laborer. Sometimes his relatives give him a goat to sell, but a goat only earns one day’s worth of living expenses for a family of 7. “The food shortage has been continuing for some time,” he said. “I wish these supply distributions could happen more often.”

November 2nd, 2011 – Mr. Isa supports a family of 7.
Items distributed to each household included 10 kg of rice, 2 kg of spaghetti, 3 kg of flour, 3 kg of beans, 1 kg of sugar, 500 g of salt, 1 L of cooking oil, 2 cans of tomatoes, tea leaves, a bucket, a plastic tank, women’s sanitary products, 3 bars of soap, and a plastic sheet.

Rain has Begun to Fall, but the Situation Remains Grim

Kenya’s rainy season finally began at the end of October, with sudden downpours even blocking the streets in some areas. Bad roads have caused delays to supply distribution, but we have continued operations nonetheless. It is expected that the rainfall will lead to the regrowth of plants for livestock to eat, but substantial recovery will still take time.

AAR JAPAN’s relief operations at the refugee camps in Dadaab have been temporarily suspended due to the deterioration of security conditions near the Somali border. For the time being, operations will focus on the distribution of food and other relief supplies to those suffering from food shortages near Garissa. We deeply appreciate your continued support.

*This project has been made possible thanks to a grant from Japan Platform in addition to generous individual donations.

November 2nd, 2011 – Nicolette KRAUSS, right, hands out cooking oil, one of the relief items.

November 2nd, 2011 – People in the Yahasley settlement come to receive relief supplies.
They say that they have not received any aid until now.

Nicolette KRAUSS, AAR JAPAN Tokyo office
Joined the overseas division of AAR JAPAN’s Tokyo office in September, 2011. Majored in Japanese at university in Germany, and came to Japan for the first time in 1989. Studied in Sapporo for a year as an international student. Returned to Japan in 2005 and worked for banks and a beverage company. Temporarily returned to Germany after the Great East Japan Earthquake, then returned to volunteer in the disaster-affected areas before joining AAR JAPAN. Born in Munich, Germany. (Profile at the time of posting)