It is imperative that we act now, in close collaboration with communities and community-led organizations, to alleviate the suffering
NEW YORK, United States of America, October 1, 2021 / APO Group / –
Immediate action is needed to respond to the severe drought ravaging communities in the dry regions of Kenya – classified as arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) – the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Friday.
By November, it will have nearly tripled from the same period last year, OCHA warned. “The people of the ASAL region are facing a dire situation,” said Stephen Jackson, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Kenya, as he launched the humanitarian flash appeal for the drought response in Kenya.
Speaking from Nairobi, Jackson said residents of Wajir in northern Kenya had not seen rain for over a year. Rates of acute malnutrition are rising rapidly, posing imminent risk to children and pregnant and lactating women.
Lives “turned upside down”
He described how a mother at the El-Nur clinic supported by the World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) “told me that she could not feed her children. that morning and didn’t know if she would be able to put food on the table that evening.
Many of his cattle have already died from the drought ”. And “all of this is on top of the drought of 2017, COVID and recent locust infestations,” he noted.
“I met women, men and children in Wajir, who all told me how their lives are turned upside down by the drought.
“It is imperative that we act now, working closely with communities and community-led organizations, to alleviate the suffering caused by consecutive poor rainy seasons,” Jackson said, reiterating that “if the October “short rains are failing now – as they should – Kenya will face an even deeper crisis”.
Kenya Flash Appeal
The Kenya Drought Flash Appeal calls for nearly $ 139.5 million to help 1.3 million people whose lives have been hit hardest by the crisis.
An estimated $ 28.5 million has already been received from donors, including $ 5 million from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund.
The appeal brings together 45 humanitarian partners, including United Nations agencies, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), national NGOs and the Kenya Red Cross, to complement the government’s response to the drought crisis in the region. from ASAL.
Jackson said the government of Kenya has already responded to the crisis. Ksh 1.7 billion (approximately $ 17 million) of public funds has already been allocated and Kenya has announced an additional Ksh two billion ($ 20 million).
Since January, the UN and international partners have already reached nearly half a million people to protect their lives and livelihoods, he said: “But it is not enough.”
Kenya urgently needs about $ 60 million for food and job security, $ 40 million for nutrition, $ 20 million for water, sanitation and hygiene ( WASH), some $ 10 million for investments in health and $ 7 million for education and other related sectors, the United Nations Resident Coordinator said. for Kenya said.
“We aim to provide a full package of support to countries that will face the deepest and most serious needs in the months to come.”
” It’s time to act ”
Welcoming the way the United Nations system in Kenya had already come together to “respond as one”, Jackson stressed the urgency of the situation: “It is time to act”. International support will save lives and livelihoods, he said.
“The severe impact of the global climate emergency is being felt across the Horn of Africa,” he noted.
Referring to the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he stressed that “in the past, sporadic droughts in Africa are becoming much more frequent, more severe and more lasting”.
Neither Kenya nor the African continent were the main culprits in creating the climate emergency, he said, but they are among the hardest hit by it. “We must do all we can, immediately, to protect the lives of those already affected by this deep and cruel drought.”
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