Kenya: UN calls for assistance for drought victims

Kenya: UN calls for assistance for drought victims

Geneva-The United Nations is issuing an urgent appeal for US$139 million to provide assistance to the 1.3 million people in Kenya who have suffered the most from the severe drought.

Millions of people across Kenya are suffering from two consecutive seasons of insufficient rainfall, leading to severe food shortages.

The latest comprehensive stage classification analyzes the severity of food insecurity and found that nearly 370,000 Kenyans are in a state of emergency and another 2 million are in crisis.

Stephen Jackson, the Kenyan Resident Coordinator of the World Food Program, delivered a speech via Zoom in the capital Nairobi, saying that the rate of acute malnutrition is rising rapidly. He said that 465,000 children and 96,000 pregnant and lactating women are severely malnourished. He warned that if there is no emergency nutritional feeding, many people will face imminent risk.

On Thursday, while visiting a clinic in Wajir in northern Kenya, he said that people told him that it had been more than a year since the last rain.

"I talked to a young mother, Zeinab, and she told me that she could not feed her baby that morning. She didn't know if she could put food on the table that night. And many of her livestock have "dead from the drought." , The remaining ones are not in good condition for sale. Of course, you know that in northern Kenya, livestock are the foundation of life," he said.

Jackson said that the problems caused by the drought are compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, insecurity, recent locust plagues and diseases.

To date, the Kenyan government has allocated approximately US$17 million to aid the most vulnerable drought victims and announced another US$20 million for this work. However, Jackson said this is not enough, and the support of international donors is needed.

"Now is the time to take action. As I have already emphasized, if the October rain fails, it will be the third consecutive season without rain. And we will face a more serious crisis by the end of this year. Some Things "the order we saw 10 years ago. Therefore, any support we provide now will save lives and livelihoods," Jackson said.

The East African drought in 2011 caused a severe food crisis in the region, threatened the livelihoods of 9.5 million people and caused tens of thousands of deaths.

The current appeal will provide food and livelihoods, special nutritional treatment, water, sanitation and personal hygiene, medical care, education and other basic needs for severely malnourished children and women.