Clean water for nearly 200,000 people in drought-parched Kenya

Kenya, August 22, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Erin Gray/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Mercy Corps has been delivering clean, fresh water to families — many of whom are displaced — for more than a month in drought-stricken northeastern Kenya. Photo: Erin Gray/Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Erin Gray/Mercy Corps  </span>
    We've begun subsidizing water supplies to help families' valuable livestock — which, like these donkeys, have had very little to drink — survive the drought. Photo: Erin Gray/Mercy Corps

Over the last week, our emergency response team in northeastern Kenya has reached more than 9,700 more people with clean water. The total population to which we're delivering and ensuring water has risen to 197,749.

Our staff is deployed throughout the hardest-hit parts of Kenya's drought-parched Wajir County, and our efforts are reaching more people every day. But there are dozens of other villages — and tens of thousands more people, many of them displaced — who need our help to survive this crisis.

In addition to trucking fresh water to places that have no natural supply or infrastructure, our team is also helping communities restore broken systems and build more capacity. This week, we're working to design a long-term pump house, storage tanks and piping in one of the area's biggest and poorest towns. We're also planning for the construction of water distribution lines and troughs in another large village. We're coordinating all of these activities with local government officials and other humanitarian organizations to ensure that immediate needs are met and long-term challenges are addressed.

We've also begun subsidizing limited water supplies for families struggling to keep their animal herds alive. While families have free access to plenty of drinking water, they're also able to purchase water for their livestock for a fraction of local market rates.

Our team is also working hard to tackle Wajir County's other short- and long-term needs: food, child nutrition, feed for livestock, reseeding of rangeland, environmental protection and improved agriculture. As we've learned from responses to dozens of emergencies over the last 32 years, an emergency is just the beginning of our work with vulnerable communities. We stay on to make sure that families don't only survive crisis, but emerge stronger and more resilient.

Please help our teams reach more families today, as well as plan for the critical months ahead. Thank you for your support, and we'll keep updating you on our work.