Rotary International District 1240
Home | Disasters Updates 2011-12 | East Africa Crisis the kind of problems faced getting aid in.
Good morning to all District International Service Chairmen and fellow Rotarians
You will all have seen the news coverage of the developing crisis now affecting up to 10 million people in the Horn of Africa and we are receiving many enquiries regarding our response. We have significant stocks of Water-Survival Boxes in Standard and Multi-Pack format that can be sent by air as soon as their suitability has been confirmed and we can arrange with a reputable organisation (whether Rotary or an international aid agency) for swift transit through customs and distribution to families in need. However, as you will see this particular crisis is compounded by its remote geographic location, its proximity to Somalia where armed conflict continues, and the often chaotic situation in the refugee camps themselves. As in previous complex operations we have to ensure that any aid we send will reach those it is intended for and in this case we are actively seeking to achieve that.
On Monday evening, following the Channel 4 programme highlighting the growing crisis I emailed DG 9200 Eric Kimani offering our aid – his District includes Kenya, Ethiopia and adjoining countries, and the refugee camps at Dadaab featured on the programme. Repeat messages were sent on Thursday and Friday (copied to his DGE) but so far no reply has been received. A similar message was sent to Humanity First UK on Monday – HF-UK has proved to be an effective partner in the past eg distributing more than 1300 WSBs in Pakistan last summer/autumn. The Vice Chairman replied by return to say that the Humanity First team permanently based in Kenya was already in contact with the authorities and seeking to clarify whether or not there was a need for water purification and other essential survival items.
The latest information from Humanity First in Kenya is that ‘there are 3 camps with about 100,000 refugees in each, with a thousand trickling in daily. MSF, StC, WFP, UNICEF and Oxfam are trying to cope as best as they can. However, because of the war in Somalia, aid agencies are unable to get to these camps without heavy armed police escort. Once aid gets across, there is a rush to get to it and the stampede quickly disintegrates into chaos. The only access route is from the capital, Nairobi, then via Thika and then a long trek to Garissa and then an even longer journey over a semi-desert to Daddab about 40 km from the Somalia border. Our Chairman in Kenya has met with the ministry for Disaster Relief and will meet the Oxfam team on Monday and Tuesday. Oxfam are engaged in water sanitation project in North East Kenya. He will see if Oxfam can team up with us in the distribution of the water survival boxes. We intend to purchase essential food from Nairobi, load it in three trucks and go to Daddab with the escort and 15 volunteers on our first round and with your boxes in the next round, provided of course you agree.’ We have now supplied HF with details of the boxes available for immediate despatch with a view to obtaining early customs clearance and as soon as we can confirm arrangements with Humanity First will organise air cargo into Mombasa or Nairobi.
Further updates will be sent as soon as we have more information. Details of the Water-Survival Box project can be seen at www.worldwaterworks.org and anyone wishing to help should forward a cheque to our registered office or to Rotary, c/o The White House, Pensford, Bristol BS39 4NE. As a registered charity we are able to benefit from Gift Aid – a donation form can be downloaded from our website.
Yours in Rotary humanitarian aid Service
Hugo Pike PHF
Chairman – Worldwaterworks Limited
PP RC Chelwood Bridge – D 1200