Kenya

World Food Programme extends assistance to Kenya flood victims

Press Release
Nairobi - The United Nations World Food Programme today announced that it will extend its emergency operation for Kenya flood victims until the end of September this year.

In December 1997, WFP mounted an emergency flood operation, costing an estimated US$14 million, to distribute 17,274 tons of relief food to Kenyans severely affected by floods which started pounding Kenya at the end of last year.

The lives of more than half a million people were severely affected by the El Nino weather phenomenon, destroying many roads and villages in areas of northeastern Kenya including Garissa, Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, Marsabit, Moyale and Tana River.

In July, WFP conducted food security assessments in Garissa, Wajir, Elwak, Mandera and Tana River to evaluate the recovery of the Kenyans hit by the floods and to recommend where further assistance was needed. The assessments concluded that although in the flooded areas there was improvement, malnutrition rates in areas of northeastern Kenya were prevalent and there was still a need for WFP to continue providing relief assistance until September.

During the flood period the majority pastoralist population suffered losses of up to 80% of their cattle from water borne diseases and Rift Valley Fever, access to commercial food supplies were cut off and food prices in the market more than doubled.

WFP will continue its emergency operation through to the end of September when livestock herds should be recovering, milk production from the livestock is expected to increase and commercial food prices should be lower.

"It is important that these families continue to receive food aid until they reach a level where a substantial recovery has been made," said Mike Sackett, Regional Manager Horn of Africa. "If we stop now we'll see a much slower build-up of their livestock assets as people are forced to sell them to buy food."

WFP will provide food assistance to 587,480 people in the flood-affected districts in north-eastern, eastern and coastal regions. WFP will also give supplementatry rations of unimix to children under five in southern Garissa, Elwak, Mandera and South Horr division in Marsabit.

The extension of the operation will cost US$11.8 million. To date WFP has received US$3.8 from the European Union and the United States of America.

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Mike Sackett
WFP Country Director for Kenya
Tel: (254) 2 622043

Lindsey Davies
WFP Information Officer
Tel: (254) 2 622594
Home: (254) 2 582162