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Ruto: Funds available to fight starvation

08 August 2014, 19:21 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - Deputy President William Ruto has said that there are funds available to fight starvation caused by drought in the country.

The DP has said that there is no way the government will allow Kenyans die from hunger and starvation while the government has the funds to deal with the situation.

He said Friday in Baragoi that there is KES 1 billion available to deal with the menace.

" The money is there to deal with the unfortunate thing that is drought and starvation, he said.

" We have set aside as much as KES 1 billion to ensure that the relevant authorities ensure all those facing starvation are catered for, he added.

According to aid agencies, upto 14 million people across East Africa face starvation.

Poor rains and multiple conflicts across eastern Africa have put over 14 million people in need of food aid, three years since extreme drought devastated the region, the United Nations said Friday.

"The situation is very worrisome," said Matthew Conway, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for Eastern Africa.

"There are similarities to the situation that we saw leading to the 2011 crisis," he said, adding that the United Nations was appealing for $2.6 billion (1.9 billion euros) in aid.

Ruto though insisted that it is up to county governments to ensure that Kenyans do not suffer the efects of starvation thanks to drought and urged them to invest in irrigation and other methods of farming.

" County governments have to take charge of the situation. They have to ensure that their people do not suffer the effects of starvation, by investing in irrigation and other methods of farming to help the situation, which can be avoided, he added.

Conditions are still far from the crisis in 2011, when some 12 million people in four nations were hit by one of the worst droughts in 60 years, with parts of Somalia declared famine zones.

The 14.4 million people classified by the UN as food insecure are spread over nine nations, with the hardest hit countries including war-torn South Sudan and Somalia.

Aid workers say famine could be declared in South Sudan within weeks if fighting continues, while last month the UN warned Somalia is sliding back into an acute hunger crisis.

Arid northern Kenya, which like much of the region suffers from recurring droughts, is also struggling.

Oxfam said failed or poor rains, conflict and drought have contributed to the rising food insecurity in the region.

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