Kenya: Thousands Face Starvation

Children play in a street in Nairobi's Kariobangi slum. (CNS photo/Patricia Zapor)

A bishop in northwestern Kenya said people are so hungry they are eating wild fruit, roots of trees and dog meat. “Food must reach here soonest to save the people from death,” said Bishop Dominic Kimengich of Lodwar, where most residents are animal farmers and ethnic Turkana. The area has been hit by drought. The bishop said an estimated 63,000 households—about 460,000 people—are facing starvation. Kenyan government officials estimate 1.7 million people, mostly in the country’s northern region, need food relief. Bishop Kimengich said his people also face constant insecurity. In November, Turkana farmers were invaded by neighboring Pokot people over land ownership claims. In 2011, the Kenyan government announced the discovery of oil on the land, and last year it announced the discovery of water reserves. Although the government has promised food relief, the bishop said, “It’s hard to say food has reached all the affected people in the country. Government food is usually slow in arriving.” Bishop Kimengich said that in Lodwar, church officials were feeding an estimated 500 people every week.

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