By Peter Orengo and Rawlings Otieno
The response by Kenyans was overwhelming and humbling - hitting Sh19 million, through M-Pesa contributions alone on the second day.
On Wednesday when it was launched, contributions stood at Sh5.5 million by close of the day. Another Sh14.5 million was raised Thursday. The special account for the famine initiative dubbed, Kenyans for Kenya, opened by Kenya Commercial Bank was also about to hit the Sh1 million-mark by last evening. Suffering:Emaciated, hungry and low on hope a Turkana woman lies next to a sufuria with raw beef of a dead cow, as her helpless son blankly stares at horizon. [PHOTO: LUCAS NGASIKE/STANDARD]
Suffering:Emaciated, hungry and low on hope a Turkana woman lies next to a sufuria with raw beef of a dead cow, as her helpless son blankly stares at horizon. [PHOTO: LUCAS NGASIKE/STANDARD]
"We are delighted at the overwhelming response to our appeal from ordinary Kenyans and corporations,ââ said Safaricomâs CEO Bob Collymore.
The target to mitigate the raging famine, which has put 3.5 million lives at serious risk, is Sh500 million. The contributions were still coming last night with corporations either joining in or setting up parallel famine relief initiatives.
The US Government joined local and international organisations in responding to the crisis, said to be the worst in 60 years. The US announced Sh11 billion- donation to assist refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and drought-affected populations.
On Monday the European Union announced it had released Sh3.6 billion on top of the Sh9billion the commission had given to the region this year.
United Nations, through its Central Emergency Rapid Response Fund, also announced the release of Sh1.25 billion specifically to assist communities in arid areas to mitigate the effects of drought.
The World Bank gave an overall Sh45 billion to assist drought victims in the Horn of Africa, with an additional Sh1 billion for immediate assistance to those worst hit. But the bulk of the money, it said, would be put in various projects focusing on short-term recovery and long-term drought response.
So far, the Kenya Government says it has released Sh8 billion through the ministries of Water, Agriculture and Special Programmes, but it requires an additional Sh2 billion to fulfill its mandate.
The heroes of the day were the ordinary Kenyans, regardless of ethnic group or political affiliation, whose contributions by phone, which accepts donations as low as Sh10 per person, who pushed the overall figure so about Sh20 million.