Villagers dig a water pan near their homes in Kenya after the drought in 2011. Caritas pays them for their work. During the worst of the drought, Caritas distributed food, trucked in water, and brought hay for animals that remained alive. Credits: Sheahen/Caritas

Villagers dig a water pan near their homes in Kenya after the drought in 2011. Caritas pays them for their work. During the worst of the drought, Caritas distributed food, trucked in water, and brought hay for animals that remained alive.
Credits: Sheahen/Caritas

Caritas is appealing for funds to help farming households in Somalia struggling with famine following a long-term drought.

Funds will support Catholic Relief Services (CRS – a US member of the Caritas confederation) who are working with local partners on a five month emergency programme in the neediest areas of south central Somalia.

CRS requires a total of US$2.6 million (€2 million) for the programme, which will run until March 2013. Of this, US1.9 million (€1.5 million) is sought among members of the Caritas confederation.

“The nutritional situation is critical in some areas of southern Somalia,” says Malone Miller, country manager for CRS Somalia. “Many adults are eating just one meal a day and children also don’t have enough to eat. Families are selling livestock, borrowing money and migrating in search of food and work.”

CRS will focus on providing food to 5000 agro-pastoralist households to support them until the next harvest in January 2013. Many of them have very low food stocks following insufficient rains. Two thousand farmers will be provided with seeds which they will cultivate to boost their dwindling food stores.

Five thousand farmers will also receive Disaster Risk Reduction training which will better enable them to identify and reduce their vulnerability to future droughts and floods.

“Improving access to food and protecting livelihoods now is essential to prevent further depletion of household assets and ensure that people will be able to cultivate their land during the rainy season,” says Malone Miller.

Contact Michelle Hough, Communications Officer, at +39 334 234 4136 or hough@caritas.va.