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Outrage as Chinese Company Donates Beer as Part of Drought Aid to Kenyan Village

A drought-stricken village in Kenya has been given cartoons of beer by a Chinese company as part of a food and drink aid including 300 bags of maize and 20 cartons of cooking oil.

The Ghuanshan International Mining Company Limited’s donation on Friday at the Katikit village in Tiaty sub-county, Baringo, received cheers from the villagers who tore many bags during a scramble by young men for the Tsingtao beer brand, reports Kenyan local media The Star.

Residents scrambling for food. PHOTO | FLORAH KOECH

“Locals in this area love liquor and I saw it fit to include it as part of food donation to the hunger-ravaged villages. We also donated more than 300 bags of maize and cooking oil,” said the Chinese company’s director Han Ke who is quoted by Nairobi News.

Kabon Loriono quaffs a can of beer which was part of a food donation by Chinese investors to hunger-ravaged Katikit village in Tiaty Sub-County. PHOTO | FLORAH kOECH

The company is reportedly eyeing to set up a diatomite factory in the area and decided to undertake the donation as its corporate social responsibility.

Ben Todonyang, a resident of the village, told Nairobi News that: “We are really thankful to get beer in this remote village. We have been hard hit by food shortage and the beer will come in handy as well so that we can enjoy ourselves and forget the myriad of problems.”

A woman runs away with carton of Chinese beer donated by Chinese workers who visited the area with donations of food to hunger ravaged residents of Katikit in Tiaty in Baringo County. PHOTO | FLORAH KOECH

However, religious bodies and health officials have condemned the donation which was done in the presence of the Tiaty MP, William Kamket.

The SDA Church led by women ministers condemned the donors for taking advantage of the suffering of the people, reports Nairobi News.

“We are perturbed as a church that some well-wishers have opted to take advantage of Kenyans suffering from hunger and instead of taking them food they give them liquor. We are condemning such acts and insist that if you are for a good course in addressing their plight then give them food,” said Anita Too.

“There are children who are suffering from malnutrition in the area due to acute food shortage and instead of even taking milk you decide to give them beer. We feel that it is being insensitive to them taking into consideration that they are eyeing to invest in the area,” she added.

Kenya’s Director of Public Health Dr Kepha Ombacho told The Star that the gesture was not just wrong but dangerous.

“This is just unacceptable. Beer is not food. You cannot introduce alcohol to people who are already starving,” he said, adding: “While we welcome people of goodwill to support, it must be proper food fit for human consumption.”

Many similar reactions were also shared on social media condemning the company’s decision to add beer to its food aid as more important items could have been provided.

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