Published on 28 August 2009

WFP requirements over the next six months (September 2009 – February 2010) are 265,000 mt of food or US$230 million, to provide emergency food assistance to 3.8 million Kenyans affected by deepening drought and continued high food prices, as per the findings of the just-concluded long rains assessments. Assistance will be provided through general food distributions and food for assets. An additional number of children and/or women will be assisted through nutrition interventions.

This will be an increase from the 2.6 million drought-affected Kenyans currently assisted through general food distributions/food-for-assets. The Kenyan government will support the new caseload of 1.2 million people until the end of October, when WFP will take over the entire caseload.

WFP will also expand its school meals programme by 100,000 to reach nearly 1.2 million children across the worst affected areas. The Government of Kenya is also providing school meals to about half a million more children under their own school meals programme.

Some of the worst affected Kenyans have been pushed to the edge and are struggling to survive. Many have reduced the number of meals per day, eat cheaper and less nutritious foods, migrated to urban centres and taken on massive debt. Cattle are dying, and acute malnutrition rates among children under 5 are over 20 percent in some areas – well above the 15 percent emergency threshold.

Besides the expected dramatic increase in beneficiary numbers from September, the assessment has recommended an increase in ration sizes by 25 percent, from 50 to 75 percent of 2,100 kcal per person per day in some semi-arid districts, and from 75 to 100 percent in arid districts through general food distributions/food for assets.