(Updated 28/04/2012)































































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Horn of Africa Drought Crisis

13th August 2011 - For the past four weeks we have been on standby to send Water-Survival Boxes to help with water-purification in the refugee camps in the Dadaab region of Kenya. However, serious difficulties in arranging a safe and secure route along the 300 mile journey from Nairobi, as well as a controlled environment for distribution to families most in need, meant we have had to wait for confirmation that such arrangements were in place.

In the interim the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) and major NGOs on site have been working to provide sustainable clean water supplies by drilling a series of boreholes. We are now advised by our partners (Humanity First) that this work has resulted in adequate supplies of clean water for the existing and anticipated numbers of refugees on each of the camps for the foreseeable future. For that reason it has been agreed to cancel the planned consignment. The fact that sustainable alternatives have now been provided is good news for the refugees, and enables us to provide help elsewhere.

In the past ten days we have been alerted to the impact of a typhoon that has left some tens of thousands homeless in the Bicol region of Luzon Province in the Philippines. Working with the Rotary Clubs of Metro Lipa and Metro Legazpi arrangements are being made to send an initial consignment of WSBs for distribution by the Philippines Red Cross in partnership with the local Rotary Clubs.

Our appeal in relation to the Horn of Africa is now closed and donations received will be used to assist in the Philippines and to build stocks for future disasters. The difficulties of communication and extended supply routes have been a major frustration over the past month but it was important that we did not forward our aid until all the conditions were in place to ensure it reached those in need. We are very grateful to those Clubs that responded to the Horn of Africa appeal and trust they will understand and agree with the action we have taken.

10th August 2011 - The despatch of Water-Survival Boxes planned for today has had to be delayed. This is because of the chaotic situation with which the aid agencies were confronted last weekend when the food convoy involving a number of major aid agencies, including our partner Humanity First, made the journey from Nairobi to the refugee camps in the Dadaab region. Whilst they were able to get through to Dadaab they were at risk of being overwhelmed by the sheer weight of numbers. Humanity First appreciate the need to ensure aid does reach those in greatest need and will be recruiting a significant number of extra people to increase their security team before the next convoy sets off. This is expected to be in mid-August. Whilst this is very frustrating we must be guided by those ‘on the ground’ and ensure that the complete route right through to the end-user families is safe and secure. A message posted on District 9200 website today can be seen at this page on the RIBI website - http://www.ribi.org/news/articles/horn-of-africa-district-9200-appeals-for-help

With many thanks to the Clubs that have already responded by raising funds to be used to sustain the aid operation for the Horn of Africa or to restock ready for the next emergency.
Further to previous updates, arrangements are now being finalised for the consignment of 1,000 Water-Survival Boxes to leave our depot in Somerset on Wednesday, 3 August for onward transportation to Nairobi where they will be received by members of Humanity First. The boxes are then to be taken to the refugee camps in the Dadaab area for distribution to families most in need. The first convoy of food aid involving a number of the major aid agencies including Humanity First reached Dadaab today (Saturday). Our aid which is needed to purify available water supplies and provide essential hygiene and other survival items to families is scheduled to be part of the second convoy that will travel with an armed military escort.

 Horn of Africa Drought Crisis - Update 

The latest information from the Vice Chairman of Humanity First UK, received today, is as follows:

Our chairman in Kenya is now ready to move and we are about to fund this operation. There is a team of 12 volunteers who will be accompanied by a police escort on the first trip. The team will proceed to Dadaab probably coming Saturday or Monday next week and purchase the food items locally and distribute under their personal supervision.

The team will assess how best to move the water survival boxes. I understand from the UN reports presented to our chairman that water is not a critical need at the moment in the refugee camps. Therefore, Humanity First will perhaps need a greater number of the standard WSB and lesser multipacks, I would suggest a ratio of 2 WSB to 1 multipack. You have been very patient so far and perhaps I can ask you to endure a few more days because once the team is there and are eye-witnesses to the actual situation, they can then revert to us with the specific need of the refugees and their assessment of how easy it may be to explain to the refugees how to use the items in the WSB etc. Although the refugees are in the temporary camps, they are mentally drained by the long journey. We can then coordinate with you on the despatch of the boxes. We recommend a single supply because it may be a bit difficult to get the boxes from the seaport to Nairobi and then Dadaab if there are two or more dripfeed rounds. We will present to you what we see as the need, suggest a possible mix of WSB v multipacks but will leave you to determine how many of what. Finally, we would like to have the flexibility to use the Save the Children team in Kenya for customs clearance (there seems to be little other alternative) and the distribution of some or many of the boxes from you to the refugees with the same reporting criterion that you may require of us and trust that this discretion is acceptable to you. Once again, we will come back to you asap after our team returns

In the light of this we will be preparing further multi-packs to top up the existing stock of 200 in that format ready to be sent with standard WSBs once we get the green light from the Humanity First team in Kenya. I anticipate that we should then be ina position to send a total of 1,000 boxes (split 700 standard and 300 in multi-pack format). We have the necessary funds to cover the anticipated air freight costs and HF are liaising with Save the Children in Kenya with a view to facilitating the passage of goods through customs on a duty-free basis. Clearly, if as seems likely now, all this comes to pass, once our consignment goes we will have a severely depleted stock and funds will be needed to build them up again. Clubs wishing to donate are asked to make cheques payable to Worldwaterworks Limited and to send them to our registered office – see www.worldwaterworks.org – or to Rotary c/o The White House, Pensford, Bristol BS39 4NE

Horn of Africa Drought Crisis

For the past 14 days we have been searching for viable ways of sending Water-Survival Boxes to the refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya. A series of e-mails offering our aid sent to DG9200 Eric Kimani (whose distict includes Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) and latterly to his DGE Geeta Manek have not been responded to.
We have also been in regular e-mail and telephone contact with Humanity First UK - an international aid agency with which we have successfully worked in the past in Bangladesh and last year in Pakistan following the devastating floods when HF-UK distributed some 1,340 WSBs to families most in need.

The Vice Chairman of HF-UK advises that the Chairman of the HF team permanently based in Nairobi has been meeting with representatives of Oxfam and UNICEF (who have teams on site in Dadaab) with a view to agreeing how to get both food and water aid into the camps in safety and then how to protect the supplies from being overwhelmed by the mass of refugees so that distribution can be on a controlled basis. A further issue that has to be clarified is that of ensuring speedy transit through customs for incoming aid without excessive import duties. The dialogue in Kenya has been under way for some ten days and we are hopeful of positive news in the next few days.
In the interim we have up to 1,000 standard Water-Survival Boxes and 200 in multi-pack format packed ready to go the moment we get the necessary assurances regarding the above issues.
This has been a very frustrating period and yet we will not send aid out until we can be sure that it will reach those that need it. We know there is an urgent need for water purification and it is clear that the nature of this crisis is that it will continue to escalate as more refugees arrive and add further pressure on already over stretched resources. Let us hope that the Kenyan authorities and the lead NGOs there now clear the path for us to ‘do our bit’.


We are grateful for the number of enquiries from Rotary Clubs across RIBI and further news will be circulated through District International Service Chairmen for onward transmission to all Clubs.




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