Kenya + 2 more

East Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 19 June

EAST AFRICA: 16 million people facing "critical" food shortage
Nearly 16 million people are facing critical food shortages due to drought-induced crop and livestock losses, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in its June food outlook. Pastoralists in the sub-region are the worst-affected after a succession of poor rains. In Kenya, nearly 2.7 million people mainly in the pastoral north and northeast provinces are facing severe food shortages, FAO said. In Tanzania some 800,000 people in several regions face serious food supply difficulties due to a poor "vuli" harvest for the third year in succession, while in Uganda, the food supply situation in the northeast is difficult for some 215,000 people affected by drought. Another 112,000 people have been displaced by civil strife in the country's western district of Bundibugyo, FAO added.

KENYA: Over 70 Kenyans killed by Ugandan herdsmen

More than 70 Turkana pastoralists from Kenya were killed and all their guns confiscated when the Karamojong from Dodoth raided them at Kasile in Kotido district, northeastern Uganda. The semi-official 'New Vision' newspaper on Saturday reported that the assailants also grabbed over 10,000 heads of cattle from the Turkana who had entered Uganda to graze their animals. It is suspected that the attack could have been in revenge for an attack earlier in the year by the Turkana and Toposa of Sudan on the Karamojong, in which 54 people from Dodoth were killed.

KENYA: 15 schools closed as food shortages bite

Fifteen primary schools in Kenya's north-central Samburu district have been closed due to prolonged drought and insecurity, the 'East African Standard' quoted the district education officer (DEO) Joseph Kikwai as saying. He said acute shortages of food, water and the current insecurity situation had forced the schools to close. In the Eastern Province, nearly 60,000 pupils have abandoned classes with several primary schools threatened with closure, education officers said. Kenya has been facing acute drought, leading to both food and water shortage in most parts of the country. Low water in the country's main hydro-generating plant recently led to the government, together with stakeholders in the energy industry, announcing a power rationing programme throughout the country. There have also been warnings of a similar programme for water.

KENYA: Vital services to refugees "running perfectly"

All vital services to refugees are "running perfectly" and are appropriately funded, the head of UNHCR's sub-office in the northwestern Kakuma camp, Saber Azam, told IRIN. "The funding shortage is not worse than the previous year," he said. "Donors are effectively transferring their commitments in the course of the year according to their convenience." UNHCR is, as a result, following a flexible pattern in its programming system. "Nevertheless, refugees have never received less than 1,900 kilocalories per person per day which is sufficient to cover the basic requirements of an individual," he added.

UGANDA: Rebels still hampering aid work

Rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have maintained a presence in Uganda's two northern districts of Gulu and Kitgum since the year began, OCHA's latest humanitarian update said. "Unfortunately, there seems to have been even more increased rebel activity in the two districts over the last couple of months," the update pointed out. It observed that there are frequent reports of ambushes and groups of LRA spotted in both districts. Anti-tank mines were discovered between Acholi-bur and Pajule by the army "but no reports of injury", the report said. It noted that the security situation was bad especially on roads leading northwards to Sudan and in the south of the district. "The Gulu-Kitgum road has literally been closed," the report said. Most NGO activities have been greatly hampered or are on hold as agencies can no longer move to the field. "Atiak has not been accessible for a couple of weeks," the report said, adding that LRA activities in Atang and Pajule "seem to be a trend during this time of the year when the rebels resurface".

TANZANIA: Mkapa chosen to run for a second term

Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa was last week chosen by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party as its candidate in the forthcoming October elections, news organisations reported. AFP said that delegates to the CCM general congress meeting in the country's central town of Dodoma, "overwhelmingly" chose Mkapa who is seeking re-election as president for a second five-year term. The party also nominated Amani Abeid Karume - son of Zanizibar's founding president the late Abeid Amani Karume - as the island's presidential candidate. He will face the opposition Civic United Front's Seif Shariff Hamad in the presidential race.

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