NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5 – Capital FM has partnered with the Standard Group and Kenya Railways Corporation to launch a nation-wide campaign dubbed ‘Mercy Train-Tuungane Tuokoe Maisha’ to raise funds for those affected by the drought.
The campaign which was unveiled on Thursday will see a train running from Nairobi to Mombasa, distributing food that will be collected for the initiative to affected parts of the country.
Capital Group General Manager Cyrus Kamau said the organisations will mobilise food donations for the campaign.
“When you think of some people going without a meal and perhaps most of the Kenyans or some of the Kenyans going with all the meal that they can afford, it is only prudent for organisations that care to support this initiative,” he said.
Other participants include Tuskys supermarkets, and Kenya Commercial Bank which has set up an account for the relief.
To kick start the campaign, participating firms have jointly contributed over Sh6 million which was handed over to the Kenya Red Cross. Food donations are to be dropped off at Tuskys outlets.
Meanwhile, Kenya Red Cross estimates that over 4.5 million more Kenyans could be at risk of starving due to the worsening drought conditions.
Secretary-General Abbas Gullet said results from a bi-annual assessment of the impact of the rains on crop yield shows that despite the efforts to help famine stricken Kenyans, many parts of the Eastern Province and lower Eastern Province were in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
“In the greater Ukambani districts of Mwingi, Machakos and Makueni we are caught with a situation where it is estimated that now roughly about 4.5 million Kenyans are being affected by drought,” he said.
He explained that the inconsistencies in the number of those affected is due to disparities in population figures occasioned by the use of the 1999 national census.
Mr Gullet said consultations are going on between donor agencies to urged government to assist with food.
“For Eastern province and lower eastern, we will need to continue food distributions until early next year hoping that they will get good rains for the short rains period.,” he said.
He called for a re-evaluation of the country’s food and agriculture policies if the country is to avoid the recurring cases food shortages.