This brings total U.S. food aid for this year to 62,960 metric tons. Additional food aid is provided for refugees and for development programs.
Parmer praised Kenya for improving their food distribution system. "Kenya has taken great strides in improving the targeting of their food," he said. "By doing this, food will be distributed more equitably and will reach the people who need it most."
Approximately 2.7 million people are impacted by a drought in Kenya's northern districts. Rainfall late last year helped mitigate the drought in places, but expected rainfall this spring is critical to avoid a deepening of the drought.
Parmer also called on the international community to increase their response to appeals from the World Food Program. "I urge the international community to take immediate action to respond to requests from the World Food Program for assistance in the Horn of Africa. Unless other donors mobilize immediately, we are in danger of having a preventable food shortage turn into a widespread famine."
The drought in Kenya is also affecting other countries in the Horn of Africa. Parmer is on a two-week trip to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea to assess the impact of the drought and evaluate the infrastructure for meeting the food needs of the region. He will then travel to Rome and Brussels to discuss the drought situation with officials of the UN's World Food Program and the European Union.
Parmer has been USAID's assistant administrator for the Bureau for Humanitarian Response since 1998. USAID is the United States government agency responsible for development and humanitarian assistance around the world.
U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
WASHINGTON, DC 20523
Contact: Kim Walz or Gabrielle Bushman