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‘Mercy Train’ roars off with food for the famished

BUSINESS
By | March 28th 2009

By Ally Jamah

The ‘Mercy Train’ whose commissioning The Standard Group championed rolled out with food for the famished.

Special Programmes Minister Naomi Shaban flags off ‘Mercy Trucks’ at the Nairobi Railways Station, yesterday. Looking on is German Ambassador Walter Lindner.

The relief food campaign, overwhelmingly supported by individuals and corporate organisations, left the ramp to applause – bringing hope to those staring death in the face. It targets about Sh20 million and has so far received more than Sh10 million.

The Standard Group Deputy Chairman and Strategy Advisor Paul Melly and a host of private sector dignitaries were joined by Special Programmes Minister Naomi Shaban to send off the train and Mercy Trucks from Nairobi to several towns along the Nairobi-Mombasa railway line and across the country.

The train, laden with food and water, was scheduled to stop in Ulu, Kima, Sultan Hamud, Emali, Kibwezi, Kikumbulyu, Darajani and Mtito Andei. Other places to benefit include Tsavo, Bachuma, MacKinnon Road, Samburu and Miritini.

These are some of the areas gripped by serious food shortages and where there has not been a single drop of rain for long.

The ‘Mercy Train’ is part of the Standard Group’s initiative, ‘Tuungane Tuokoe Maisha’, to assist Kenyans affected by famine.

Other partners are Capital FM, Tuskys Supermarkets, Kenya Commercial Bank and Kenya Railways.

‘Mercy trucks’ were also flagged off to Isiolo, Samburu and other parts of the country not served by rail.

During the ceremony at Nairobi Railway Station, Melly said he was overwhelmed by the generous contributions.

The Mercy Train pulls out of the city station with supplies to Ukambani and Coast.

Capital FM Group General Manager Cyrus Kamau said the ‘Mercy Train’ was not just an empty slogan, but real action to help suffering Kenyans.

Mr Mohammed Abdinoor of Red Cross said the public donates half of the food the organisation distributes.

Mr Charles Mangara of Kenya Commercial Bank said the bank’s 146 branches countrywide were still open to receive contributions.

Mr Peter Njenga of Kiu Basta donated 2,500 litres of water. Earlier, Shell donated Sh1 million to the kitty. Shell Country Chairman Ahmet Erdem said he was happy to be associated with the initiative as it was in line with the company core values.

"It’s part of our job to ensure the well being of the communities in which we operate," he said.

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