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18 February 2009

The Government will disburse adequate relief food to districts facing famine to ensure no one starves, President Kibaki has said. Kibaki said by declaring famine a national disaster, the Government had shown its commitment to provide food to those affected. [...] The World Food Programme (WFP) WFP announced it might need to almost triple the number of people it feeds from 1.2 million to 3.2 million. It is estimated that 10 million Kenyans are facing starvation. [...] WFP said it currently feeds 763,000 children at school, and is preparing to increase that number by an additional 850,000 children. "School feeding helps keep children in school during times of crisis because parents know at least they will be fed," WFP added.


17 February 2009

Thousands of residents of Mathingira and Leshau locations in Nyandarua North on Monday flocked the chief’s offices for relief maize donated by the Government. The maize was however not enough and many returned home empty handed. “I had 50 bags of maize only whereas those who turned up were nearly 3,000. What can you do to such a figure?” Posed Mr John Kamondo, the chief Mathingira location, whose population of 16,000 are in need of food. [...] And in Nyandarua North, area DC Hassan Farah yesterday appealed to the World Food Programme to give relief to 13,000 internally displaced people living in a 50-acre farm in Ol Kalou constituency. Mr Farah, who is also the district disaster committee chairman said the WFP food distribution programme set to end next week should continue until the displaced families find ways of fending for themselves.


12 February 2009

Sheltering under a tree from the scorching midday heat, eyes glued to the clear blue sky, Kiziba Wamwagudu hopes for rain. None has fallen in months. Crops have withered away in the dry, dusty soil, and food is scarce and costly. Like millions of others in southeast Kenya, Wamwagudu, 68, and his extended family of 18 are slowly being driven into the jaws of hunger. [...] To avoid future food shortages, the U.N. World Food Programme is encouraging the use of simple irrigation and using crops that can survive with less rain. "Millet and sorghum are drought-resistant crops, and this is one of the ways people can change their farming culture to fight drought," explains Gabrielle Menezes, a spokesperson for the food aid agency. While the government puts the number of those without enough food at 10 million, WFP estimates 3.2 million are in urgent need of aid. It is feeding 1.2 million people and hopes to extend assistance to a further 2 million, according to Menezes. The U.N. agency will soon start assessing the hunger situation jointly with the government.


12 February 2009

Children wait in line for lunch provided by the World Food Program at a primary school in Kibera, a slum in Nairobi, Kenya.


11 February 2009

Herds of animals pull in from all directions, kicking up clouds of dust beneath a baking sun as they converge on a concrete cylinder in the village of Wargadud, north-east Kenya. [...] Aid agencies say that up to 30 per cent of animal stocks in the wider area have perished, while the rest are producing little, if any, milk. "During the day, we don't eat," says Abdullahi Abdi Hussein, 65, the official in charge of the borehole. "We only have one meal a day, when we used to have three." [...] Aid agencies say it is only a matter of time before children and the elderly start perishing from hunger-related illnesses, particularly if the long rains, which generally arrive in March, also fail. "If people become malnourished, their immune system is depressed so they get sick for other reasons and that is what pushes them over the edge," says Peter Smerdon, a Nairobi-based spokesman for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).


4 February 2009

Millions of Kenyans risk hunger this year, according to the government and the U.N. World Food Program, unless international donors grappling with their own financial crises step in to provide massive aid. The World Food Program sent out teams this week to assess the extent of the crisis after yet another rash of crop failures caused by prolonged drought; the agency says historical data suggests 3.2 million people will need aid. In many of the worst affected areas, this is the third consecutive failed harvest. WFP estimates that $135 million will be needed to tackle the crisis through the expansion of emergency projects. "This is a very alarming situation," WFP spokeswoman Gabrielle Menezes said as she led a group of journalists across a field filled with dry and broken cornstalks. "People already hit by high food prices are struggling to feed themselves."


4 February 2009

Millions of Kenyans risk hunger this year, according to the government and the U.N. World Food Program, unless international donors grappling with their own financial crises step in to provide massive aid. The World Food Program sent out teams this week to assess the extent of the crisis after yet another rash of crop failures caused by prolonged drought; the agency says historical data suggests 3.2 million people will need aid. In many of the worst affected areas, this is the third consecutive failed harvest. WFP estimates that $135 million will be needed to tackle the crisis through the expansion of emergency projects. ''This is a very alarming situation,'' WFP spokeswoman Gabrielle Menezes said as she led a group of journalists across a field filled with dry and broken cornstalks. ''People already hit by high food prices are struggling to feed themselves.''


2 February 2009

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said Tuesday it was holding consultations with the Kenyan government to open an additional refugee camp in northeast Kenya. Speaking during a meeting in Nairobi with Kenya's Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang, visiting UNHCR Deputy Commissioner Craig Johnstone said the additional camp in Fafi district will cater for an influx of the refugees from war-ravaged Somalia. Daadab, the largest camp for those fleeing conflict in Somalia, has already hosted 240,000 refugees against a capacity of 90,000. Johnstone said the UN agency is working with the World Food Program (WFP) to ensure the refugees do not go hungry as a result of the current famine being experienced in many parts of the country.


27 January 2009

Kenya has sacked a dozen senior agricultural officials amid a national food crisis that has left as many as 10m people facing imminent hunger. The dismissal of senior managers at Kenya’s cereals board came 10 days after President Mwai Kibaki said the country was facing a “national disaster” and called on international donors to help plug a forecast mid-year maize deficit of 190,000 tonnes. [...] The World Food Programme is currently feeding 1.2m people in Kenya but a spokesperson said it was expecting to be feeding 3.2m by March. WFP is still carrying out its own assessment of exactly how many people need assistance.


26 January 2009

The Kenyan government on Monday dissolved the National Cereals and Produce Board (NGPB) after carrying out an audit on its operations and structure. Agriculture Minister William Ruto said the board managers have been sent home and four new members of the board have been named. [...] Some 10 million Kenyans need food aid because of shortages and the government has appealed for emergency funds to deal with the matter. The UN World Food Program (WFP) said on Thursday it will increase food aid to 3.2 million hungry Kenyans who are facing food crisis. Last week, WFP spokeswoman Gabrielle Menezes told journalists in Nairobi that the UN agency plans to provide food aid for 3.2 million adults and infants and 850,000 school students. Menezes said the organization is currently carrying out an assessment in the affected parts to determine the extent of the famine and drought that has left about 10 million people or more starving.