Africa

Over 2 million Kenyans face acute hunger due to drought in Kenya, IRC warns

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Over 2 million Kenyans face acute hunger due to drought in Kenya, IRC warns

Cattle die and men, women and children are hungry and thirsty

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 28, 2021 / APO Group / –

The International Rescue Committee is concerned about growing humanitarian needs after months of drought in parts of Kenya. In early September, the President of Kenya declared the drought a national disaster following a national rainfall report. Due to low rainfall and low agricultural production, 2.1 million Kenyans will face acute food insecurity over the next 6 months.

Mohammed El Montassir Hussein, IRC Kenya Country Director, said

“This drought is reminiscent of the great famine of 2011 – we are very concerned about the growing humanitarian needs as people leave their hometowns in search of places closer to water sources. Cattle are dying and men, women and children are hungry and thirsty. In the east and south of the country, the rains received were only 51% compared to forecasts.

Lamu Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu, Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Kilifi and Taita Taveta counties received amounts as low as 26% of normal rainfall. Turkana and Garissa are both refugee receiving counties. which put the already vulnerable refugee population at additional risk given the planned closure of the camps in May 2022. Many people living in these areas depend heavily on crops as a source of nutrition and livelihoods, and droughts have resulted in agricultural production lower than average.% lower than average for all crops. And this is worse in the coastal region. High food prices coupled with lower livestock prices have negatively impacted households’ ability to purchase staples An earlier than normal migration of up to 60% of livestock, mainly in search of pasture and water, has intensified insecurity and conflict as well as the high risk of livestock diseases.

“Climate change is the main driver of erratic and recurring droughts, and has been partly attributed to recent Desert Locust outbreaks in East Africa, causing widespread food insecurity. Climate change also contributes to poor health outcomes. exacerbate the spread of vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria. Lack of access to clean water will lead to a higher incidence of diarrhea, a major cause of death in children under 5. Coupled with the destruction of fragile ecosystems, climate change has a profound impact on the emergence of viruses like COVID-19 that emerge from animals.

“We need to prepare for future climate emergencies, with financial support and decision-making power to communities. Local leaders (especially indigenous people), small farmers and ranchers already have the knowledge and experience to deal with this crisis.

“The future response to climate change must also be feminist, recognizing the unique and disproportionate ways in which women are affected. As farmers, caregivers or activists, women (and women-led organizations) are at the heart of food security and effective climate change mitigation.

“A secure aid budget – achieved in accordance with the internationally approved target of 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) – and risk-informed funding that can be deployed quickly, is essential to mitigate the impact of future shocks. Investing now to address hunger and food insecurity resulting from climate shocks will save time, money and lives in the long run. We urgently need funding to be able to meet basic humanitarian needs and mitigate the impact of future shocks.

IRC has worked in Kenya since 1992, providing health care, women’s protection, legal rights, economic recovery and development and nutrition services to hundreds of thousands of refugees and their host communities. We are also working with the Kenyan government to support health, nutrition and conflict resolution programs. IRC is focusing its efforts on Turkana, Garissa, West Pokot, Kajiado and Nairobi counties by providing emergency health care, supporting community health projects that improve nutrition, sanitation and access to medications ; educate people about HIV / AIDS and other diseases; promote conflict resolution to make communities safe for women and children; provide primary education for children and specialized classes and vocational training for youth and adults; and advocate for the rights of refugees in the capital, Nairobi, and other urban areas.

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