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CARE, World Vision, Oxfam, Save the Children and Mercy Corps Receive a Total of $1.6 Million for Kenyan and Afghanistan Drought Relief Efforts

Grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help organizations provide food and water to the more than 3.5 million people suffering from starvation in drought stricken areas

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
206-709-3400
Trevor Neilson
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Phone: 206.709.3100, Email: media@gatesfoundation.org

SEATTLE -- CARE, World Vision, Oxfam, Save the Children and Mercy Corps International have received grants totaling $1.6 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to assist ongoing relief efforts in drought-stricken areas of northern Kenya and Afghanistan.

Kenya and Afghanistan are two of the world's hardest hit areas by severe drought. CARE, World Vision and Oxfam will use $1 million of the grant funds to provide relief to those suffering in Kenya. Save the Children and Mercy Corps will provide $600,000 of support to drought victims in Afghanistan.

Severe drought conditions over the last three years have left nearly 3.5 million people in Kenya suffering. More than three million herders and farmers living in the dry lands of the rural north and east of Kenya have been affected by the intermittent periods of drought and flooding. The lack of water has created a vicious cycle of poverty and starvation, as the people in the area earn their living from farming or livestock herding.

Most of Afghanistan is also in distress from severe drought causing malnutrition and starvation in children, as well as mass migration among families searching for food, water and employment. The drought has resulted in shallow wells drying up and increased water-borne disease outbreaks. Additionally, the search for water could result in an increase of Afghan refugees moving to neighboring Pakistan, as well as increased population shifts from rural to urban areas within Afghanistan.

"Cooperation among organizations and foundations is essential to making a difference in the lives of the millions of people affected by drought and its devastating consequences," said Charles MacCormack, president of Save the Children. "This support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help all of our causes and will ultimately benefit the many suffering families in Afghanistan and Kenya."

The grants to Save the Children and Mercy Corps will provide $600,000 of emergency support for drought relief efforts in Afghanistan. Save the Children, working to improve lives worldwide for over 60 years, will provide food and supplies to those areas most affected by the Afghanistan drought. For more information about Save the Children, visit the website.

Mercy Corps, which has provided more than $500 million of assistance to 73 countries since 1979, will provide immediate relief to the drought-affected population of Chora District, Afghanistan. Mercy Corps will provide food and water to sedentary and nomadic populations, as well as food and veterinary services for surviving livestock. For more information, visit the Mercy Corps website.

CARE, which has been working in the northern Kenya region for more than 30 years, will use the grant to provide immediate supplementary food assistance to children under five and by replenishing the livestock program to help families preserve their assets through the crisis. For more information, visit the Care website.

World Vision, providing world support for more than 50 years, will also provide relief to malnourished children by distributing Unimix, a blended food more easily digested by children to provide them with additional protein, vitamins and minerals, in the drought stricken Turkana District of Kenya. For more information, visit the World Vision website.

Oxfam, operating since 1995, will also use the grant to provide Unimix as a supplementary food to 85,000 malnourished children, mothers and elderly affected by the severe drought in Kenya. The food supplements will help these vulnerable groups to gain weight and to recover from illness more quickly. For more information, visit the Oxfam website.

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