Poor rainfall, crop failure has Kenya on verge of national disaster ? UN

22 July 2004

Several years of poor rainfall, leading to severe crop failure, has brought Kenya to the brink of declaring a national disaster, the United Nations said today.

Food production this year in five of the country's seven provinces will be about 40 per cent of what is needed, while drought-like conditions in pastoral areas have already put close to 1 million people in severe food insecurity, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In the meantime, some 2.3 million persons will require a total of 136,000 tons of food for the next six months ? but that number could increase to 3.3 million if rain continues to be scarce, OCHA warned.

UN relief agencies will soon be appealing for international aid on behalf of the Kenyan Government. WFP plans to ask for food aid within the next few days, and UNICEF is responding to concerns over health, nutrition, water, sanitation and education. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is consolidating requests for agricultural and livestock assistance.


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