Friday, October 9, 2009

Economic Crisis Hits the Urban Poor Hardest

Some of us may not feel the effects of the economic recession much, we can continue our schooling, buy groceries and afford small trips. Last night, I cooked a lentil soup for 7 persons, all the veggies (carrots, lentils, onions and potatoes) and spices added up to KSH180, approx €1.80. Little costs, unfortunately, still too great for some.

More than 80% of Nairobi’s slum population lives below the poverty line and cannot afford to put food on the table. Kenya’s slum dwellers have been hit hard by the food price crisis. Slum dwellers in Central Kenya are faced with extreme poverty (starvation), and are resorting to eating animal feed (24 August 2009, Concern).

The economic crisis is harsh on casual workers employed in the formal sector, informal sector workers and international and domestic migrant workers. As last reserves are used, the risks is exorbitantly high for the poor to rejoin the ranks of ‘extreme poverty’. Industries (especially the garment industry) are back to offering sweat shop conditions to the desperate (Voices of the Vulnerable).

Urban migration has increased in the recent months; due to aggravated environmental conditions (extreme drought). Migration is out of complete desperation, for a ray of hope. Funds only for a one-way bus fare. There is an urban humanitarian disaster at hand.