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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2005, 17:45 GMT
Kenyan inmates fast over drought
Somali refugees in Kenya
Droughts are a common hazard for Kenya
Tens of thousands of prisoners in Kenya plan to skip their meal on Sunday to raise money for fellow Kenyans affected by food shortages.

Prisoners in jails across the country are hoping that by diverting funds for their meal to the charity Food Aid, it will help the starving.

Some 2.4 million people are threatened by severe drought across Kenya.

Inmates were moved by television images of malnourished children and thought it was a "small gesture", said officials.

'Brothers'

"We were very surprised when the prisoners came up with the decision and we thought at first it was a joke. But it is quite a good gesture," said John Isaac Odongo, the commandant of Kenya's prison staff training college.

"Prisons have changed and we can afford to give our brothers some of our food rations without getting affected," said Simon Ole Sakrop, a death row inmate.

Up to 50,000 prisoners signed up to take part, in an action co-ordinated by the Kenyan Red Cross Society.

TFood shortages caused by poor rains, are estimated to have claimed the lives of around 30 people, although there are no official figures.

President Mwai Kibaki visits Mandera hospital, north east of Nairobi
President Kibaki has pledged government aid for famine victims

Neighbouring Ethiopia and Somalia also face desperate shortages of food.

Mr Odongo said that officials had yet to determine how much money would be saved in the country's 93 prisons, but the sum would be handed over to humanitarian groups.

The drought has prompted a recent appeal from President Mwai Kibaki for $100m in help.

On 24 December he announced that his government would hand out about $40m.

The Meteorological Department has said the drought could last until March, when the rainy season is due.


SEE ALSO:
Kenya appeals for famine relief
04 Jan 06 |  Africa
Kenyan drought adds to Maasai woes
30 Nov 04 |  Science/Nature
Country profile: Kenya
10 Jan 01 |  Country profiles


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