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Kenya says 1.3 mln people in urgent need of food aid

16 October 2016, 19:01

Nairobi - The Kenyan government said about 1.3 million people mostly in arid and semi-arid areas are in urgent need of food aid following prolonged drought in most parts of the country.

Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said the government has however established several inter-ministerial interventions to ensure no lives are lost as a result of the drought.

"The government is on top of this situation and we shall ensure the necessary help reaches the most needy," Kiunjuri told journalists in Nairobi late Friday and called on the county governments to initiate similar interventions.

He said the food security situation has, however, improved, adding that the number of people facing drought has reduced from 2.5 million people last year to 1.3 million people this year.

He said eight counties -- Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Wajir, Mandera, Isiolo, Kitui and Samburu -- are among the most affected by the drought, noting that there is serious water and food shortage in the areas and that it might lead to malnutrition.

"These people are in need of relief food, cash transfers, water related interventions and health interventions," the CS said.

Kiunjuri said that to mitigate the effects of the drought, the National Treasury has set aside 2.5 million U.S. dollars in August to buy and distribute relief food.

The National Drought Management Authority has already released 540,000 dollars to the affected counties to support in areas of livestock, education, health and conflict management.

He said the government has mobilized 20 extra water bowsers for emergency water supply in the affected areas. He said 3,500 bags of maize, 2,700 bags of beans, 10,000 bags of rice and 1,000 cartons of vegetable oil have been dispatched to the regions.

Kiunjuri said unlike in previous years where there have been overlaps and duplication of efforts in interventions to address food insecurity, this year the government decided to have a joint ministerial team to coordinate the exercise.

"We would like to assure them that the government is on top of this. There should be no alarm. We will meet again in a week's time to take appropriate measures following the recommendations of the team," he said.

The team will be tasked with identifying and scaling up investment in the medium and long-term resilience building interventions to avoid recurrence of food insecurity and loss of lives as a result of drought.

- Xinhua


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