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OXFAM Seeks Over $35 Million for East Africa Drought Aid

The international aid agency OXFAM says it’s making its biggest funding appeal ever to deal with the food crisis in east Africa. OXFAM is asking for more than 35 million dollars.

It’s estimated about 11 million people in the region are in need of emergency aid. OXFAM is helping over 500 thousand of them in Ethiopia. Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia.

Beatrice Karanja is a spokesperson for the agency. From Nairobi, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the funding appeal:

“We need to do this because the drought is continuing and there is a heavy food crisis going on and appeals are not as forthcoming as they should be. And the crisis is growing. So, we felt that it was important to launch this appeal now to just keep the momentum going and to remind the world about the plight of millions of people in the Horn [of Africa].”

Rains have come to many parts of the region, so why is OXFAM launching its appeal now? Karanja says, “With the rains come stiff new challenges because during the drought lots of cows and livestock died. So that left many carcasses on the ground and things like that. So, basically, with the rains come new challenges like contamination of the ground. And because people have moved into urban centers to get access to food there’s risk of public health issues like cholera and other communicable diseases. And most importantly, the cows that have been left are still exposed. They are still dying from cold because they don’t have the meat to keep them warm.”