KENYA: Salesian Missionaries Provide Food Aid and Assist with Water Collection After First Rain in More Than a Year
Salesian missionaries are continuing relief work in the villages near Korr, Kenya. The first rains in more than year came on Sunday, April 30. While it was not a lot of rain, it was enough that Salesian missionaries were able to gather some of it for drinking water. Missionaries report that some villages are better equipped than others for collecting this rain water to use for drinking water. In Lengima, for example there is a borehole that has been dug and a well system to provide water for the residents and animals.
Salesian missionaries report though that other areas do not have the capacity to have wells dug that will be sufficient enough to help the people. Residents are attempting to collect the water in any way they can. But the rain was not without its challenges.
“There was a lot of destruction happened along with the rain. Many livestock drank the water and fell down dead because they were famished, so when they drank to become full, they died,” says Father Luke Mulayinkal, who oversees the Salesian missionaries’ work. “When it rained, there were small dams built or dug in several areas that have water now. People and animals use that water and so the number of people searching for water have reduced. But imagine people drinking the first rain water, which has flowed through the ground which did not get rain for over a year. The Sister who oversees the Don Bosco Dispensary has reported that soon people will come with all types of stomach problems due to drinking this water.”
In early May, Salesian missionaries provided food aid kits containing five kg of maize, two kg of beans and half a liter of oil to 3,490 families. A total of 65 villages have received food in this second distribution. In addition, 110 children were provided milk in the village of Lengima. One of the biggest challenges since the drought began is the lack of 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.
Salesian missionaries within the Don Bosco Mission–Korr work on a daily basis to reach the 85 villages near the mission, some require missionaries to travel distances of more than 150 km to reach the villages. With the recent rains, transport and communications were interrupted and some of the villages have not been able to be reached. Missionaries are waiting for additional funding for relief supplies and then will continue their aid distribution to some of these far away villages. The goal is to support 4,805 families in total.
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. While the rain provides some water to local villages, it was still not enough to help food production and supplies available are still not enough to adequately help the local people. Salesian missionaries are relying on donations and financial support to assist with this crisis.
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.
Salesian Missions – Kenya