DROUGHT ALERT

Two million Kenyans at risk of hunger and starvation

World Vision is responding to 28,000 vulnerable women and children facing malnutrition

In Summary

• The report attributed the high levels of acute malnutrition to reduced milk production and consumption among children.

• Conflict, Covid-19 and the climate crisis have pushed more than seven million people across six countries in East Africa to near starvation, the report says.

Families get food rations from the Garissa government at Iftin Primary School on Monday, May 11, 2020
FOOD AID: Families get food rations from the Garissa government at Iftin Primary School on Monday, May 11, 2020
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Nearly two million people are suffering hunger and starvation and may need emergency relief support, a report by global charity World Vision estimates. 

The report attributed the high levels of acute malnutrition to reduced milk production and consumption among children.

Conflict, Covid-19 and the climate crisis have pushed more than seven million people across six countries in East Africa to near starvation, the report says.

This development comes on the back of a warning by the National Drought Management Authority that 10 counties could be hard hit by drought. 

Marsabit, Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu, Samburu, Kitui and Laikipia have been put on high alert for drought.

The East Africa Hunger Emergency Response Situation report released on Monday named some of the counties on the NDMA list in addition to parts of Isiolo, Baringo and Turkana counties.

The UN estimates that 108,000 people in East Africa are under catastrophic famine conditions, a situation marked by critical acute malnutrition, starvation, destitution and death.

The NDMA June drought bulletin further indicated that Nyeri, West Pokot, Baringo, Embu, Kajiado, Kwale, Meru, Narok, Taita Taveta, Tharaka Nithi, Makueni and Isiolo counties are in normal drought phase.

The bulletin showed that in June, four counties including Nyeri, West Pokot, Lamu and Mandera reported an improving trend.

“Twelve counties, namely Baringo, Embu, Kajiado, Kwale, Meru, Narok, Taita Taveta, Tharaka Nithi, Turkana, Laikipia, Marsabit and Wajir recorded stable trend, while Makueni, Isiolo, Garissa, Kilifi, Kitui, Samburu and Tana River Counties reported a worsening trend. The slight improvement is attributed to rains received during the month of May,” NDMA said in the bulletin.

World Vision said the region has endured substantial and widespread breeding of desert locusts since late 2019, resulting in loss of pasture and crops.

Rising conflict between June and December 2020 in Ethiopia has worsened the food insecurity situation in the region.

The Climate Prediction and Application Centre and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation have both predicted dry conditions and worsening food insecurity situation in 2021.

“Coupled with economic impact of Covid-19 lockdowns continue to destroy livelihoods and push millions into desperation. This challenging period could erode human and economic development gains that have been made towards the global Sustainable Development Goals across the region,” World Vision said.

It said rising food insecurity also increases the risks faced by women and girls, including gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse. 

 

 

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