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ADRA delivering food, water during East African drought

Response areas include Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is providing water, food and emergency supplies to thousands of the most vulnerable people affected by a drought in East Africa.

ADRA's Africa Regional Office, based in Nairobi, Kenya, is launching a multi-faceted intervention in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda to combat the high rates of malnutrition and protect the affected population from the threat of the spread of disease. An estimated 85,000 individuals will benefit directly from this response, ADRA officials said.

Low rainfall over the past year is causing the driest year across the region since 1951.

The World Food Programme reported that more than 10 million people in East Africa are in dire need of humanitarian aid as a result of diminishing food sources stemming from the recent rise in food prices and severe drought that have overwhelmed the region.

Of the nearly 10 million people requiring humanitarian assistance, more than half are children.

An ADRA spokeswoman said the agency's response is an increase of existing operations in the region.

"We're not new in these areas and we're aware of the needs and how to serve these populations," said Marie-Jo Guth, who serves on the Emergency Unit at ADRA International.

"Without water, it's a simple matter of survival for many of them right now," said Guth, who returned from Ethiopia last week.

In the Western Somali region of Ethiopia, ADRA will provide an emergency water trucking response, as well as livestock feed and veterinary assistance to protect the assets of the farming communities, who rely on livestock for their livelihood.

In Kenya, ADRA is providing food rations to 800 households, with a special ration reserved for pregnant and lactating mothers, and an additional ration for malnourished children.

Kenya is experiencing its highest rate of acute malnutrition since 2003, a significant cause being the 25 percent increase in food prices from January through April. ADRA is also drilling four boreholes for wells in various communities and making drinking water readily available with emergency water trucking.

In Somalia, ADRA is providing high-risk areas with clean drinking water through a water trucking response and repairing several boreholes in strategic locations. ADRA is also constructing latrines to protect against the spread of diseases among internally displaced persons camps.

In Uganda, hundreds of thousands of people are reported to be in danger of severe starvation and living with a dangerously low supply of water. ADRA will provide food, water and emergency non-food items to 55,000 beneficiaries in northeastern region of Karamoja.

ADRA is a global non-governmental organization providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.

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