Hunger in the news

18 August 2009

Hundreds of Somali refugees have started moving out of the world's biggest refugee camp in Kenya in a bid to relieve pressure on the overcrowded complex at Dadaab, the UN refugee agency said Tuesday. About 12,900 of Dadaab's 289,500 inhabitants will be bussed to Kakuma refugee camp over the next couple of weeks following an agreement with the Kenyan government, said Andrej Mahecic, a spokesman for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. (...) He warned that the wave of "abductions, killings and intimidation of aid workers, and pillaging" of relief supplies added to the difficulty of reaching some 1.3 million people who are displaced inside the country. Security guards repelled an attack on a World Food Programme compound in Somalia in Sunday, leaving three attackers dead after a gunfight, UN officials said. An estimated 3.2 million people inside Somalia are rely on emergency urgent humanitarian aid, according to the UNHCR.

13 August 2009

The military started distributing food to famine-hit areas in northern Kenya yesterday (..). More than 10 million Kenyans are at risk of starvation but with the latest emergency efforts to save lives, the number of those to be fed is expected to rise to 6.5million. Through the World Food Programme, the government was feeding 2.5 million

4 August 2009

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was in Kenya Tuesday touting a new U.S. global food security initiative. (..) He also visited a school in the Kibera slum where student meals are being provided with support from the United States the World Food Program.

29 July 2009

Damage by settlers from the era of Daniel arap Moi is sucking the life out of a vital resource. The leaves on the tea bushes in the plantations of the Kenyan region of Kericho are a sickly shade of green. (..) Even more dangerous, in a country where, the UN World Food Programme says, 3.5m people this year are already facing imminent hunger, is the prospect of water and food supplies in the big cities dropping to critically low levels.

24 July 2009

As international headlines draw attention to the political bickering among Kenya's leaders, a crisis almost entirely hidden from view is ravaging Nairobi's Kibera slum. A window into the lives of Kibera's schoolchildren reveals how the silent food crisis in Africa's largest slum is threatening an impoverished generation's future. (..) The school Gideon used to attend is supported by the World Food Program. Usually the lunch meal the school offers is enough to keep kids attending, as it is likely to be their only meal of the day.

24 July 2009

Kenya's Agriculture minister William Ruto on Thursday assured the country of adequate food a day after Prime Minister Raila Odinga warned of a crisis. (..) "The private sector imported 5 million bags, 1.5 million bags have been imported by the Cereals Board while WFP has imported the rest," he said.

20 July 2009

The government has suspended the food for work program saying hunger stricken people cannot be subjected to manual labour before getting food. Special Programme Minister Naomi Shabaan said it was wrong to subject those facing famine to digging trenches and making dams on empty stomachs. (..) She stated that 70 percent of food relief is from World Food Programme [WFP] while 30 percent was from the government.

17 July 2009

Poor rains have heightened food insecurity in Kenya's northwestern region of Turkana, where malnutrition rates in children under five have risen above the emergency threshold, according to humanitarian officials. (..) Peter Smerdon, a senior public affairs officer for the UN World Food Programme, told IRIN an ongoing inter-agency assessment of the just-ended long rains would determine the numbers in need of food aid in arid and semi-arid areas such as Turkana, Samburu and Laikipia. "Based on a recent visit to some of these areas, the situation appears rather alarming; at least 2.5 million people [countrywide] were found to be in need of food aid following the short rains assessment. We expect the number to go up after the long rains assessment because the rains were much below normal in many areas," Smerdon said.

14 July 2009

WFP has bought food from small-scale farmers in Kenya for the first time, under its Purchase for Progress (P4P) scheme. The purchase of 45 tons of rice from farmers in Ahero, Western Kenya, is part of the initiative launched in September 2008, which seeks to offer guaranteed markets to smallholder farmers, in addition to helping them access seeds, fertilisers and tools. "We help support local farmers," said Burkard Oberle, WFP country director, and "the rice grown in Ahero will be used in WFP's operation to assist Kenyans hit by drought."

28 June 2009

The forest was once a 400,000 hectare thicket of trees spread across the rolling hills of the southern Rift Valley, which captured rain water and funnelled it via aquifers into 12 rivers and five big lakes. But since the early 1990s nearly 30 per cent of it has been destroyed, according to the United Nations, by approximately 40,000 settlers who have cleared the cedar trees to make way for farm plots on which they grow wheat, cabbages and tomatoes. (..) Even more dangerous, in a country where, the UN World Food Programme says, 3.5m people this year are already facing imminent hunger, is the prospect of water and food supplies in the big cities dropping to critically low levels.