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.
(worldwaterworks.org Charity No 1116432 Company No 5903142)