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WFP seeks US$17 million to aid one million flood victims in Kenya and Somalia

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NAIROBI -- The UN World Food Programme appealed today for US$17 million to maintain deliveries of food and other vital supplies to more than one million flood victims in Kenya and Somalia.

The appeal to the international donor community followed a WFP report on 27 January that funds for airlifts and airdrops into the flooded areas were almost exhausted. WFP was forced to borrow US$1 million from its Immediate Response Account for emergencies in order to keep the air operation going at a reduced rate, pending the new appeal.

Most deliveries have to be made by airdrop or by airlift and boats because flooding has destroyed roads and bridges. WFP is coordinating air logistics for all relief agencies aiding flood victims and since last November has managed the UN Joint Logistics Centre at Garissa in Kenya.

The new WFP appeal covers the cost of food aid as well as the delivery by air of the food and materials for shelter, medicines, water purifying substances and other relief assistance for a total of 1,048,200 people.

Under the appeal, WFP will aid 657,500 Somali's through 31 July and 390,700 Kenyans until the end of this month. WFP is reviewing Kenya's additional needs for the period from March through May.

WFP issued its appeal as a follow-up to an appeal made by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance last month in Nairobi.

The unusually heavy rains, attributed to the El Ni$o effect, began in mid-October and have only now tapered off.

Hardest hit were the Juba and Shabelle River valleys in the southern part of Somalia where 2,000 people have been reported dead, 33,500 livestock perished and 60,000 hectares of crop land was inundated. Malaria and other waterborne diseases are spreading among flood victims.

In Kenya, the Tana River district in the Coastal Province, Garissa, Mandera and Wajir districts of North Eastern Province received the heaviest rainfall for at least 40 years.

The floods hit as the northeast and east attempted to recover from a severe drought that had lasted from May 1996 to March 1997. It resulted in the loss of livestock, which was disastrous for the nomadic pasturalists of North East Kenya.

For further information, please contact:

Trevor Rowe
Spokesman, WFP/Rome
Tel. +39-6 6513-2602

Christiane Berthiaume
Information Officer, WFP/Geneva
Tel. +41-22 979-9564

Brenda Barton
Information Officer, WFP Nairobi
Tel. +254-2 622-594

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