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Cablegate: Ofda Drm Director Visit to Kenya

VZCZCXYZ0019
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #3317/01 2131553
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 011553Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3374

UNCLAS NAIROBI 003317

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EA
AID FOR AA/DCHA, WGARVELINK, LROGERS
DCHA/OFDA FOR GGOTTLIEB, AFERRARA, ACONVERY,
CGOTTSCHALK
DCHA/FFP FOR JDWORKEN
AFR/EA FOR JBORNS, SMCCLURE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PHUM KE

SUBJECT: OFDA DRM DIRECTOR VISIT TO KENYA


Summary

1. OFDA Director for Disaster Response and Mitigation
(DRM), Ms. Antoinette Ferrara, traveled to OFDA's East
and Central Regional Office (ECARO), Nairobi, from July
12-16. The purpose of the visit was to consult with
USAID regional leadership on OFDA activities, meet
current OFDA regional partners including NGOs and the
UN, and visit drought affected areas and OFDA responses
in Kenya?s Makueni District. Ms. Ferrara noted a
strong relationship between the OFDA ECARO and other
USAID offices, and that the Kenyan drought is
negatively affecting agricultural populations in
eastern Kenya. End Summary.

Background

2. OFDA's DRM division is responsible for several
aspects of OFDA's field operations world-wide. These
include the management of DARTs (Disaster Assistance
Response Teams) and supervision of OFDA regional
offices. Ms. Ferrara was appointed director of the
division in May 2006 and was making her introductory
visit to the region.

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3. The visit to Kenya was part of a trip that also
included stops in Sudan and Ethiopia. While in Kenya,
meetings were held with USAID Kenya and USAID East
Africa Mission Directors, as well as with OFDA grantees
working in Kenya, Somalia and south Sudan. Ms. Ferrara
also had an opportunity to meet with ECARO staff.

4. The visit included a two-day field trip to Kenya's
Makueni District. Farmers in the district lost the
majority of their crops due to drought conditions in
2005, and OFDA is currently responding though two NGOs
to improve access to clean water for 128,000 people.

OFDA ECARO Support to Regional USAID Missions

5. During the meeting with USAID Kenya, the Mission
Director described to Ms. Ferrara the close cooperation
with the OFDA ECARO office during the 2006 Kenyan
drought response. OFDA Regional Advisors and Kenyan
Mission staff conducted joint assessments of drought
affected areas and collaborated closely on the
programmatic approval process.

6. Comments made by USAID Mission Director for East
Africa included the important role OFDA's Regional
Office plays in supplying emergency surge capacity and
technical expertise to several of the USAID programs in
limited presence countries in the Region.

OFDA Regional Partners Feedback

7. Some of OFDA's Kenya partners including CARE, World
Vision and UNICEF briefed Ms. Ferrara on current
operations and anticipated future needs. Several
pointed out that the lack of rainfall during the
previous years had only aggravated a chronic lack of
development in the affected region, and that future
attention needs to be given to improve local
livelihoods and social infrastructure.

8. OFDA Somalia partners expressed opinions on the
effects the rapidly evolving political and security
situation might have on the humanitarian situation and
operations. Ms. Ferrara noted that coordination
mechanisms for the UN and the NGOs working in Somalia
are unduly complex and should be streamlined.

Drought Effects on Eastern Kenya's Farmers

9. The DRM Director inaugurated a protected water
system constructed by partner World Vision and the
community in the Kalili area of Makueni district, which
is now providing clean water for 5,000 drought affected
families. In total, the visit looked at six examples
of OFDA emergency water interventions that capitalize
on local technologies and capacity throughout the
district. The programs were initiated following the
disaster declaration in September 2005. Several of the
projects have been completed and are already having a
positive impact on local communities.

10. Ms. Ferrara noted that agricultural communities
such as those visited in the Makueni District were
severely affected by the lack of rains over the last
several planting seasons and required assistance. The
problems in agricultural communities have been somewhat
neglected by the media during the regional drought,
which has mainly focused on its effects on
pastoralists.

11. Note: Ms. Ferrara has cleared this cable. End
note. ROWE

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