Kenya

Kenya Appeals For 4.5 Billion Shillings In Food Aid

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NAIROBI, Kenya (PANA)- Kenya has sent out an emergency appeal for food aid, saying that it needs about 4.5 billion shillings to combat a looming food shortage.
According to a document signed by the head of public service and secretary to the cabinet, Richard Leakey, 18 districts, majority of them in the northern Kenya, are the worst hit areas, while 11 others have varying degrees of severity.

An average of 20,000 metric tonnes of food are now required in the affected areas, he said.

Early warning assessments also reveal that 1.8 million people in 29 out of 54 Kenyan districts face hunger.

Leakey said the worst hit districts are Lurkana, Kajiado, Baringo, Samburu, West Pokot,(Rift valley province), Moyale, Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit and Isiolo in northern Kenya, Machakos, Makueni, Mwingi Kitui Tharaka, Mbeere and Tana River in eastern Kenya.

The stress affects a further 11 districts, though on a less severe scale. They are Laikipia, Marakwet, Keiyo and Trans-mara in the Rift valley, Nyeri, Maragua and Nyandarua in Central Kenya and Kilifi, Lamu, Taita-Taveta and Kwale in the Coast province.

Relief and urgent rehabilitation support are required beyond June, Leakey said, adding that 3.2 billion shillings for food and another 1.32 billion for immediate mitigation costs will be needed.

An additional 560 million shillings has been made available for the procurement of maize for famine relief purposes, he added.

The government said it was working closely with the World Food Programme and other international agencies to improve the situation.

It added that the famine was caused by the failure of the short rains in 1998, which marked the onset of drought stress and other climatic shocks over the last three years.

This had resulted in the degeneration of vegetation cover in pastoral areas, to a point where livestock have lost condition drastically and fatalities are beginning to be registered.

Marginal agricultural areas have also lost over 80 percent of their crop because of the drought.

The appeal for food aid comes after the 2 February disclosure by the WFP that over two million Kenyans were in dire need of food due to drought.

The agency had appealed for about 43.4 million US dollars to be used for food aid over the next five years.

Kenya has spent close to two billion shillings annually on famine relief in the last four years.(74 shillings = 1 US dollar).

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