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Leading aid agencies rally in support of UN appeal to feed millions in Kenya

Leading aid agencies rally in support of UN appeal to feed millions in Kenya

A group of 42 leading humanitarian and development organizations working in Kenya has urged governments and donors to support the $89 million appeal launched in February by the Kenyan Government and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

In a statement issued today in Nairobi, the organizations said more than four million vulnerable people in Kenya are still facing starvation due to years of drought, yet the international community is not responding adequately to appeals for food.

"Despite rains in some areas, the needs are still immense," says Emma Naylor, Humanitarian Programme Coordinator for Oxfam Great Britain, which delivers food in certain areas. "This has been the worst drought that Kenya has faced in living memory. Assessments show that as many as 4.4 million people will require food aid in Kenya until the end of the year. News that food will run out by May is disastrous."

In recent months, parts of the country seem to have been getting over the devastating drought, but food shortages in the north and east continue to cause serious problems, the agencies said. Farmers have not recovered from crop failure, and hundreds of thousands of camels, cattle and goats have died, depriving pastoralist communities of their only source of livelihood.

Although the drought has hit Kenya at a time of economic hardship, the Government of Kenya has made "major contributions" to the operation, donating food and other resources, the organizations said. Distribution of food through locally managed structures helps ensure that the food reaches the most vulnerable groups by enabling community members to select beneficiaries.