German delegation lands today to assess drought

August 13, 2011 6:58 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – A German delegation led by Economic Cooperation and Development Minister, Dr Dirk Niebel will arrive in the country for four days to assess the humanitarian crisis in the horn of Africa.

Accompanied by former German Ambassador Walter Lindner who is now the Director General for African Affairs at the German Foreign Affairs Ministry, other high ranking officials and politicians the Minister will visit German projects in Makindu and Kitui over the weekend.

““There are 12 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia who are facing starvation. The situation in Somalia is particularly disastrous, but neighboring countries – themselves hit by the drought – are also being confronted with a flood of refugees fleeing a country devastated by the civil war that has been going on in Somalia for the past 20 years a statement from the embassy indicated,” he said according to a statement from the German Embassy.

On Monday the delegation is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with the President and the Prime Minister to discuss short and long term measures of resolving the crisis at the camps hosting Somali refugees.

They will also hold talks with the Internal Security, Special Programmes and Agriculture Ministries.

The delegation will on Tuesday visit the Dadaab camp which is said to be receiving about 1,300 refugees every day and holding approximately 400,000 people already.

Dr Niebel has however urged for a long term solution that will tackle the refugee crisis saying that though it was necessary to expand the camps, it was not the best solution.

““Each day fresh waves of exhausted, starving people arrive. The refugee camps are overflowing. I call on the Kenyan government to put their words into action and carry out the announced expansion of the camp. The problems go far deeper and that is what we want to address,” he asserted shortly before he left Germany.

He further said he wanted politics kept out of the crisis and focus drawn on helping the affected people, ““The famine calls for rapid assistance. This is not a time for politics. This is a time for saving human lives.”

The visit by the German delegation follows continued calls for more support to cater for the growing number of refugees that has pushed Kenya to open more camps at the Ifo II site.

High malnutrition rates have been reported as children and adults continue to die due to lack of food.

Though Kenya is overwhelemed with sheltering of Somali refugees, 3.5 million Kenyans are facing hunger as drought situation rages in several parts of the country.

For example malnutrition rates in Turkana North have hit 38 percent, more than double the allowable threshold.

The Kenyan media has already joined hands with the corporate sector to raise Sh500 million within a month for drought stricken Kenyans.

So far Kenya for Kenyans campaign has raised Sh560 415 796.


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