July 14, 2011

Lutheran World Relief Responds to Humanitarian Crisis in Drought-Stricken East Africa

BALTIMORE, July 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the danger of widespread famine in the Horn of Africa increasing daily, Lutheran World Relief is rushing $500,000 for an immediate response to this unfolding humanitarian crisis.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110714/DC35722LOGO)

More than 10 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti are at grave risk of famine as the worst drought in the region in 60 years wears on.

"Rains have largely failed for the past two seasons, and without water there is no food, no livestock and no way for people to protect themselves against famine," says Tim McCully, LWR's Vice President for International Programs. "We're particularly concerned about the alarmingly high rate of malnutrition among Somali refugees fleeing the drought and ongoing conflict to camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. It is imperative that we take action now."

More than 1,300 people a day are arriving at the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya seeking refuge. Built to host only 90,000 people, the camps are now struggling to house and feed more than 380,000, many of them arriving after a 15-day walk across the harsh Somali country with little or no food or water.

Malnutrition and mortality rates are rising rapidly -- especially among children. Reports indicate that 30 to 40 percent of children arriving to the Dadaab camps are acutely malnourished.

LWR will respond to the crisis through its local partner, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and their existing relief teams working in the region. "We've been working with LWF in the three camps in Dadaab for the last several years," says McCully, "and this support will allow us to scale up and expand critical life saving assistance including food, water, shelter and other services."

"This humanitarian support is absolutely critical but is only the first step in what will be a long-term solution," adds John Nunes, LWR president and CEO. "While a lack of rain is the immediate cause for the current drought and food shortage, the region remains chronically vulnerable. The only sustainable solution is to promote and protect the livelihoods of the millions of rural farmers and pastoralists who depend on the water and natural resources for their food and income."

In addition to providing critically needed humanitarian aid, LWR will look to increase existing work with communities and partners in Kenya and elsewhere to seek out long-term, sustainable solutions.

LWR is accepting donations to its East Africa Drought fund to support immediate and long-term relief efforts. LWR accepts donations online, at lwr.org, or by phone at 800.597.5972.

WHO IS LWR? Lutheran World Relief, an international nonprofit organization, works to end poverty, injustice and human suffering by empowering some of the world's most impoverished communities to help themselves. With partners in 35 countries, LWR seeks to promote sustainable development with justice and dignity by helping communities bring about change for healthy, safe and secure lives; engage in Fair Trade; promote peace and reconciliation; and respond to emergencies. LWR is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. and has worked in international development and relief since 1945.


Editors: When listing organizations receiving donations for aid to survivors of major disasters outside the United States, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, please include: Lutheran World Relief, lwr.org, 800.597.5972

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.
Evariste Karangwa Ph.D.

Tim McCully

Alissa Karg

SOURCE Lutheran World Relief