Thursday, 29 January 2009
Kenya-FAMINE -Latest News
SITUATION: The government of Kenya has declared a famine, and issued aninternationalappeal for food assistance to ensure that the nutritional needs of 10 million Kenyans are met until the end of August 2009. This is a substantial portionof the population of some 37 million.
The 10 million persons affected by food insecurity in Kenya right now are asfollows: 3.5 million directly affected by an ongoing drought; an additional 1.5 millionchildren dependent on a school feeding program; an additional 2.5 millionvulnerable Kenyans suffering from various diseases including HIV/AIDS; and another 2.5 million urban poor having trouble making ends meet.
Compounding these problems, according to humanitarian groups: The increasing cost of food and non-food items like fertilizer; further crop failures; political conflicts in the pastoral areas; and continued post-national election violence that has severely affected the planting seasons in many parts of the Rift Valley province. Farmers are afraid to return to their fields given the ongoing violence and threats.
The lack of seasonal rains mean that dams have dried up, women trek long distancesin search of water, and livestock has been decimated. As a result of theseconditions,food is now at a premium: A 90-kilogram bag of maize is now selling for $72, at a cost that few can afford.An assessment recently conducted by Church World Service East Africa concludes: "There is serious need for emergency food relief; supplementary feeding for those five and under and the aged; rehabilitation of dry water pans (or basins); and construction of water retaining structures (or sand dams)."
CWS RESPONSE: Church World Service East Africa is responding to this emergency,working with local partners, including the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church (KELC), the Community RuralInitiative (CRI) and the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), providing assistance to affected families in the agricultural districts of Makueni and Mwingi in Kenya's Eastern Province.
CWS has a history of working in the region as part of its "Water for All" program.The recent assessment by CWS concludes that immediate emergency assistanceis needed in these areas so that further development work can resume. *The drought in Kenya is* getting worse by the day, and a majority of the families from communities that CWS has been working with in development activities are currently going without food," the assessment said.
The CWS response includes:
++ Immediate food relief in Kenya's Eastern Province.
++ Enhancing selective feeding programs among children and people living
with HIV and AIDS, and where nutrition is already poor or deteriorating,
particularly among pastoral households.
++ Providing additional food allocations /school feeding support to
schools where enrollment has decreased due to drought.
Helping coordinate the CWS response are the specific partners:
++ The NCCK-implemented part of the CWS program is for food assistance
of maize and beans to 2,637 beneficiaries, with a budget of $49,307.
++ The KELC portion of the CWS program is for 3,000 beneficiaries and
focuses on a three-month feeding program, seeds distribution and
immediate food relief. Total budget: $73,289.
++ The CRI-implemented part of the CWS effort is for 11,000 beneficiaries and focuses on a three-month feeding program with a budget of $59,496.
++ The ACK portion of the CWS program is for the provision of food
assistance including corn and beans for 3,600 persons at $65,064.
Total number of beneficiaries: 20,237. Total budget for project is $252,099, which includes the costs of the four partners activities plus CWS coordination and monitoring costs ($4,943).
While assessing needs in the Eastern Province, the CWS team encountered a sand dam that was part of CWS-supported drought mitigation measures begun in 2006. This sand dam, which is the only remaining water source for the Ing*oini village of about 500 households, is still holding water today despite the current drought.
CWS recognizes the beneficial impact of drought mitigation measures like this water conservation effort and wants to encourage partners to construct similar sand dams in each of the currently affected areas.
CWS is in discussion with the affected communities and hopes, through a later longer-term appeal, to secure support for the construction of sand dams in many of these communities in coming months.
For further information about disasters to which Church World Serviceis responding please visit www.churchworldservice.org or call the CWS Hotline, (800) 297-1516.
CWS Emergency Response Program special contacts: (212) 870-3151
Area 51-Fact or Fiction?
Area 51 is a military base, and a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base. It is located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles (133 km) north-northwest of downtown Las Vegas. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large secretive military airfield. The base's primary purpose is to support development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.
The base lies within the United States Air Force's vast Nevada Test and Training Range. Although the facilities at the range are managed by the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, the Groom facility appears to be run as an adjunct of the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, around 186 miles (300 km) southwest of Groom, and as such the base is known as Air Force Flight Test Center (Detachment 3).
Though the name Area 51 is used in official CIA documentation, other names used for the facility include Dreamland, Paradise Ranch, Home Base, Watertown Strip, Groom Lake, and most recently Homey Airport. The area is part of the Nellis Military Operations Area, and the restricted airspace around the field is referred to as (R-4808N), known by the military pilots in the area as "The Box" or "the Container".
The intense secrecy surrounding the base, the very existence of which the U.S. government barely acknowledges, has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore.