As many as 2.5 million people face acute food shortages for the next
year because they live in areas hardest hit by the drought – semiarid
south-eastern regions and parts of central Kenya – said the report of
the Kenya Food Security Steering Group.
Those areas generally have only one harvest a year of maize – Kenya’s
staple – usually after autumn rainfall called the short rains. But last
year they received only 20%-50% of normal rainfall, said the report.
"The failure of the 2008 mid-October to December short rains… has
precipitated a food security crisis in those areas," the report said.
"Apart from crop failure, the poor rains caused severe water shortages."
The report has not been officially made public but was posted on
Thursday on the website of the Kenya Food Security Steering Group. The
group is made up of officials from government ministries, UN aid
agencies, the US Agency for International Development, Britain’s
department for international development and non-governmental
Another 7 million people need some form of food assistance because they
are affected by Aids, or cannot afford high food prices, or were forced
to flee their homes during last year’s deadly election-related
violence, said the report.
Kenya needs about $152m to fund food aid and other programmes until
September for the 9.5 million people affected by the drought, food
prices and last year’s upheaval, said the report.
That is less than the $406m President Mwai Kibaki appealed for in January, when he declared the food crisis a national disaster
A senior official in the special programmes ministry, Ali Dawood
Mohammed, declined to comment on the report, saying it was yet to be
completed. The special programmes ministry coordinates the government’s
humanitarian aid work.
On Wednesday an umbrella group for Protestant churches in Kenya
demanded the government act against corrupt officials alleged to have
profited from the food crisis.
"Hunger in Kenya has less to do with drought and more to do with lack
of leadership, since it is man-made and orchestrated for personal gain.
How sad it is to know that there are people who are profiting from the
suffering of Kenyans," the National Council of Churches of Kenya said
in a statement.
As a result of the new assessment, the UN food agency is increasing its
food aid program in Kenya, said Peter Smerdon, a World Food Programme
News 24/Associated Press(AP)Post published in: Uncategorized