Coca-Cola boosts regional relief fund with Sh100 million gift.

undefinedHalkaan ka akhri

The emergency relief food received a major boost at the weekend from a Sh100 million donation from Coca-Cola. The money is part of Sh134 million the soft drink maker has given to drought-ravaged countries in the Horn of Africa.

Handing over the donation to the Kenya Red Cross, the Ethiopia Red Cross and the Somali Red Crescent, Cola-Cola’s President for Central, East and West Africa said the scale and magnitude of the crisis demands collaborative effort from everybody.

Mr Nathan Kalumbu called on governments, civil society and the private sector to remain constructively discontent in an effort to find long-term solutions to the perennial problem. 

“None of us can do it alone. It is my firm belief that we should move quickly and work together to develop sustainable, home-grown solutions to this crisis,” he said.

The funds — contributed from The Coca-Cola Foundation, company bottling partners and employees — will be used to provide water, basic food and critical medicines with a special focus on children the three countries.

The donation came as the government received the first batch of 42,000 metric tonnes of relief food worth Sh1.6 billion from the Japanese government.

Agriculture minister Sally Kosgey, PS Dr Kiome Romano and Special Programmes assistant minister Mahmoud Ali received 16,000 metric tonnes of maize from Japanese ambassador to Kenya, Mr Toshihisa Takata, which was immediately transported by trucks to northern Kenya.

Second batch

While handing over the donation at the National Cereal and Produce Board depot in Changamwe, Mombasa, Mr Takata said the food aid is intended to feed an estimated 3.5 million people.

“A second and third batch of maize amounting to 10,000 and 16,000 tonnes each will arrive by end of August,” he said.

Meanwhile, the government and relief agencies have expressed optimism that intervention measures are having an effect.

Kenya Red Cross boss Abbas Gullet said while the famine threat still hangs over some regions, tangible results of massive relief efforts are evident.

“In Kerio Valley for instance, children who were malnourished and on the verge of starvation are now flourishing. This is as a result of emphasis on nutrition as a key component for relief supplies,” Mr Abbas said, adding similar efforts are underway in Mandera and Wajir.

A second consignment of relief food was dispatched to those districts on Saturday through the Kenyans4Kenya initiative.

He added that the Kenyans4 Kenya initiative is also looking at long-term solutions to the recurrent food problem in the arid and semi-arid areas.

“Over the years we have learnt important lessons. One is that until we provide adequate water for domestic use and irrigation, we will be forever firefighting. This time round we want to ensure that we build a dam and few boreholes. By so doing, we will be seeking to provide examples of long- term solutions,” he said.

Special Programmes minister Esther Murugi said the government has so far released Sh10.985 billion, which has been distributed through several departments that are active of on the ground.

The ministry has been allocated Sh5.458 billion, Ministry of Water Sh2.070 billion, Education Sh2.020 billion, Agriculture Sh496 million, Livestock Sh389 million, Public Health Sh392 and Sh160 million going to the Ministry of Northern Kenya. Ms Murugi said international donors have also responded to the government appeal for relief food.

The government of Venezuala has donated 27 metric tonnes of food, which include rice, milk powder, soya-based drinking water and drinking water. These are targeting Northern Kenya.

Bostswana has donated 2,100 cans of beef, 2,000 bags of beans, 1,716 bottles of cooking oil, 2,000 bags of maize flour and 1,500 blankets.

Additional relief of compact food and high protein biscuits have been received from Norwegian Church Aid. This has been distributed in Mandera.

Germany has donated nutrition feeding tubes, baby food, millet, rice porridge, therapeutical food infusion sets, disposable and perfusion instruments intended for Wajir. Other foreign donors on board include Italy, Qatar, Egypt and China .

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