Church World Service assessment report on food shortages and the threat of starvation in Kenya


On January 9, 2009, the government of Kenya announced that over ten million Kenyans faced starvation due to massive food shortages. In a country of only thirtysix million, ten million people facing food shortages means that one out of three Kenyans are facing starvation in 2009. The reasons for the lack of food are many and varied. Violence following the disputed Presidential election in December 2007 stalled maize production across the Rift Valley, including Kenya's Western and Nyanza provinces. In 2008 a massive drought struck large sections of Kenya's Eastern Province, leaving farmers with failing crops. The general lack of an overall food security plan for Kenya has further exacerbated the situation.

In January of 2009, Church World Service decided to travel to parts of Eastern Province to assess the effects of the massive food shortages on the ground in Mwingi, Kitui, Machakos, and Makueni Districts. In addition, the team sought to assess the impact of the 2008 drought upon local Kenyan communities. The situation in all of the districts visited was desperate, with the area around Mwingi, Makueni, and parts of Machakos in critical danger.