Catholic Aid Agency Reaches Out to Thousands Facing Starvation in Kenya, Ethiopia

Amid lengthening droughts in northern Kenya, Malteser International distributes food, cash, drinking water and livestock feed and now extends the emergency relief to Ethiopia. Credit: Malteser International

The leadership of the Rome-based Catholic Lay Religious Sovereign Order of Malta, Malteser International (MI), is reaching out with cash and food aid to thousands of Kenyans and Ethiopians facing starvation amid extended periods of drought. 

In a Thursday, December 1 report, the MI Head of the Africa Department says the need for humanitarian aid to the people of God in parts of Kenya and Ethiopia “is great”.

"For around two years, we have been providing drinking water, food and cash to people in northern Kenya who are suffering the consequences of a devastating drought. We also distribute livestock feed. But in recent months, more people from Ethiopia have been crossing the border to Kenya,” Roland Hansen is quoted as saying. 

Ethiopians crossing into Kenya are hoping to find feed for their livestock, Mr. Hansen says. 

He adds that the MI has partnered with the German Federal Foreign Office to expand its aid to Southern Ethiopia to spare the people of God there from “the rigors of fleeing and to prevent conflicts over the remaining resources.”


“In the coming months, we will provide drinking water, food packages and supplementary food for pregnant women and young children,” says the MI official. 

He adds that “around 4,000 schoolchildren at ten schools in Ethiopia will receive one hot meal per day. In addition, we will distribute livestock feed to farmers.”

“The people in East Africa are currently struggling with many crises at the same time. Without help, thousands could die,” Mr. Hansen warns.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has said that the number of people facing extreme hunger in East Africa and the Horn of Africa region exponentially shot up between November 2021 and August 2022.

In a December 1 report, IRC officials say the situation is continuing to deteriorate as poor October-December rains have initiated a fifth consecutive season of drought.

More in Africa

They call for concerted efforts to address food security and malnutrition in the region.

In the MI report, the Head of the Africa Department expresses concern about the frequency of droughts in the region, saying, “Droughts are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change.” 

Mr. Hansen adds, “Those who contributed least to climate change are suffering the most: they are starving and there is no end in sight to this catastrophe.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.