NEW YORK, July 27, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The The United Nations Central Emergency…
NEW YORK, July 27, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Central Emergency Rapid Response Fund has released US$13.5 million equivalent to 1.25 billion Kenya shillings in response to the hunger situation in Kenya.
The funds will be used to assist communities in arid areas mitigate the effect of the drought situation through agriculture, livestock, food aid, nutrition, health, water and sanitation. An additional 282 million Kenya shillings (US$3 million) will be used to speci cally support the refugee response.
Speaking during a joint UN press conference on the drought situation in the country, Mr. Aeneas C.Chuma, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, stated that the funds released will also assist the urban poor. “The recent increase in food and fuel prices has made it di cult for many families in urban centers to meet their basic needs including having a decent meal. Through this funding the UN agencies in Kenya will assist the poor and vulnerable in urban areas.” The food crisis is worsened by sharp increases in maize prices. In most urban markets the price of maize has increased by 80% leaving the
urban poor in a critical state of food insecurity.
The funding will help address food security, nutrition and health concerns in marginal agriculture areas in districts of south-central Kenya where drought conditions are expected to worsen in the coming months. Kenya is faced with a hunger crisis and it is anticipated that 3.5 million people will need food assistance, up from 2.4 million people.
The crisis has further fueled resource based conflict among pastoral communities. In June, 76 people have been killed in cattle rustling incidents in the affected areas. In addition, the prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa has led to an increased influx of refugees into Kenya. Over 57,000 new refugees have
arrived at the Daadab refugee camp between 6 June and 20 July 2011.
An average of 1,500 new refugees is arriving on a daily basis. This refugee influx has raised serious public health concerns for the refugee population and the host community. Addressing malnutrition, especially among children, is the top priority for refugee populations.
The humanitarian community has partnered with the Government of Kenya to launch a two year initiative to promote mitigation against drought in Kenya. It is however imperative that all stakeholders participate in mitigating the impact of the drought and not only in Dadaab but in all affected regions.