I have just arrived in Kenya, and have had a warm welcome from my Nairobi colleagues. Over the next four weeks I’ll be visiting communities affected by the drought, and see the life-changing work ActionAid is doing to support them.
I’ve been reading and writing about this crisis for months but I don’t think anything will prepare me for seeing first-hand the impact the drought is having on people’s lives. Before going out in the field, I’ve spent my first day at our Nairobi headquarters, being brought up to speed on the work ActionAid has been doing so far and looking at our plans to respond in the short and long term.
In the next few weeks and months, we’ll be working with partners and affected communities to provide food and water to save lives. In the longer term we’ll be implementing sustainable projects – like repairing boreholes and improving irrigation and agricultural productivity – that will ensure communities are more resilient the next time the rains fail.Our morning briefing reflected on last weekend’s developments. There was welcome news that the UK Government has pledged a further £52 million to support much-needed relief in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. And we haven’t yet seen the full extent of this crisis; this situation is going to get worse before it gets better.Nairobi is a cosmopolitan city and a far cry from the lives lived by rural pastoralists. But even here though, there are telling signs of what is taking place in Kenya’s dry lands. Food prices are going up and food shortages can be felt here too. Yusuf Artan, ActionAid Kenya’s Human Security and Emergency Coordinator, tells me that supermarkets are now rationing sales of staple goods – you can’t buy more than four kilos of sugar at a time.Stay posted for people's stories from the very heart of the East Africa crisis.
(Photo: Felix, 5, suffering from malnutrition, is examined in Isiolo. Photographer: Felix Modola/Shoot the Earth/ActionAid)