Kenya appeals for $32.5 mln to feed the vulnerable

NAIROBI, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Kenya appealed for $32.5 million from donors on Tuesday to feed more than a million people left starving by drought.
Kenya has experienced consecutive seasons of poor rains in the last few years and last year President Mwai Kibaki declared the drought situation a national disaster and appealed for food donations from the international community.

Njenga Karume, Kenya's minister in charge of special programmes, said that although the food security situation had improved in some areas since Kibaki raised the alarm, in drier parts it had not changed.

"An estimated 1.2 million people, including 200,000 school children in 17 (arid and semi-arid) districts remain extremely vulnerable. They cannot meet their basic needs and continue to require external assistance," Karume said.

"For the next six months -- September 2005 to February 2006 -- a total of $32.5 million will be required for food and non-food needs."

Most of the funds would go to buy 51,000 tonnes of food, the minister said in the appeal, made together with the United Nations. Out of the total amount, $29 million will go to the World Food Programme (WFP) and the U.N. children's agency (UNICEF), the two U.N. bodies said in a statement.

Nancy Mutunga, Kenyan representative at the Famine Early Warning System Network (Fewsnet) which seeks to strengthen food security, said the new funds were needed but that the food situation in Kenya had improved.

"The 1.2 million certainly need intervention.....This is not a situation that has got worse, there are some improvements," Mutunga told Reuters.


Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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