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Kenya pastor visits U.S. seeking famine relief

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DANNY IVISON

Ellis County Press

BRISTOL, TEXAS -- Pastor Samson Nyameche of Kenya is in the U.S. on a mission of mercy. Three and one half years of draught have left his country starving. Relief is desperately needed now. 

President Danile arap Moi personally visited Kenyan pastors in their hometowns urging them to go abroad and share the plight of the nation with the international community.

President Moi has made an emotional personal appeal to the world. His message: 'Save our starving people.'

For the past three successive agricultural seasons following the 1997-98 El Nino rains, regions in the Eastern, North Eastern and Rift Valley have registered partial to total crop failure as well as a severe shortage of livestock.

Many people are depending on famine relief as they have already consumed whatever grains they harvested during last year. They will not have any seeds available for the next planting season in October.

There are more than 22 million Kenyans affected by the drought. Just two in every 10 people are estimated to be able to afford food.

The lives of over 20 million people in the Horn of Africa could be at risk because of food shortages if the current crisis ``is allowed to spiral into a true famine,´´ a top foreign aid official said Tuesday.

Leonard Rogers, an Agency for International Development official who specializes in emergency relief, said the immediate cause of the problem is drought, but it is compounded by deep poverty and war.

Worry is increasing about food shortages because rains have ``failed completely´´ and are not expected to return until the fall. ``We´re a long way from having a harvest that will provide relief in Kenya,´´ Rogers said. Its east coast and the north are the hardest hit areas.

Pastor Samson has an orphanage where he tries to house and feed 67 children. Food for the children is available but is very expensive. It takes about $1000 per month the feed them. That figure has more than doubled in the last year as food becomes scarcer. 

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