Special Humanitarian Envoy visits Kenya on his five-nation mission

(Kenya and New York: 30 April 2006): The United Nations Special Humanitarian Envoy, Kjell Magne Bondevik, arrived in Kenya today, the fourth stop in his tour of drought-affected countries in the Horn of Africa.
In Kenya, 3.5 million people are in need of emergency assistance following several years of successive droughts and the rapid erosion of assets and livelihoods.

Food insecurity remains severe in pastoral areas where the majority of those most affected are living. In Mandera district, in the northern Kenya, acute malnutrition in children has been recorded and high losses of livestock reported.

While the rainy season has been good so far in drought affected areas, floods have destroyed crops, homes and infrastructure. The rains have also brought with them the added threat of water borne disease and sanitation concerns. In some areas they have deepened the humanitarian crisis.

"Furthermore, underlying factors such as poverty, development, environmental degradation and marginalisation - politically, socially and economically, remain unresolved. Assets and livelihoods have already been lost and levels of vulnerability remain critically high," noted Mr Bondevik.

Earlier in February, following a two day visit to Kenya in his first role as the Special Humanitarian Envoy, Mr Bondevik highlighted the need to ensure integrated long-term strategic approaches with the current crisis response, aimed at breaking the cycle of vulnerability and livelihood insecurity.

Today, Mr Bondevik met the United Nation's Regional Support Office for Central and East Africa for a briefing on the current situation in Kenya and the Horn of Africa.

Tomorrow he will travel to Baidoa and Wajid in Somalia with donors, media and UN representatives to see local aid projects such as a therapeutic feeding centre which treats malnourished children, an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp, and water projects. He will also meet Government authorities and community elders.

On Tuesday, the final day of his eight day mission, he will meet with donors, NGOs and regional partners in Kenya, including the UN Country Team for Kenya and the Inter Agency Standing Committee for Somalia.

The United Nations launched a regional appeal for the Horn of Africa earlier this month, requesting US $443 million to support the urgent needs of more than eight million people. To date, the Appeal has received pledges and contributions of US$95 million.

For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; Kristen Knutson, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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