World / East Africa
Wednesday, 07 Jun 2017 11:35 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
The American Jewish World Service (AJWS), a major Jewish charitable organization based in New York City, has launched an East Africa Crisis Fund to respond to the crises in South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda, the group has said in a statement.
The statement said AJWS will provide immediate and long-term support to communities hit hardest by drought, malnutrition and conflict in the three nations. The fund will help communities access food, clean water, school lunches, support for refugees and peacebuilding programs to mitigate unrest in the region.
"Children are facing food and water shortages, livestock are rapidly dying and rising food prices have caused families to skip meals and sell their belongings," said Robert Bank, President and CEO of AJWS. "Our Humanitarian Response team conducted interviews with key actors to assess need and target our response. Now we're ramping up direct support for severely impacted communities."
East Africa is currently experiencing its largest humanitarian crisis since 1945. A crippling two-year drought, exacerbated by climate change and conflict, has placed millions of people at risk of starvation. South Sudan declared famine in mid-February and several counties in Kenya are already facing extreme malnutrition. Refugees from the conflict in South Sudan have entered Uganda in droves, adding pressure to an already vulnerable border region.
Last year, the short rainy seasons that are critical to food production in the region failed to materialize. The drought was particularly acute across coastal Kenya, central and southwestern Uganda and Southeastern South Sudan.
Some areas have registered only a third of their usual rain levels and in some places, it hasn't rained for over two years.