Hunger in the news

2 April 2009

Kenya intends to stop payments on corrupt deals including a fertilizer factory that was never built, the prime minister said on Wednesday, in a move that activists say could save the country more than $100m a year [- exactly the amount Kenya has appealed for from the International Monetary Fund] to help cushion its currency against the worldwide economic crisis. The country also has launched additional appeals for aid to help feed the more than 10 million Kenyans it says are at risk of hunger. The World Food Program puts the figure at 3.2 million.

1 April 2009

His emaciated face and protruding ribs betray his once cheerful face and stable gait. Lying besides his three children in the manyatta in Tana River District, Farah Abdi’s image is that of desperation. He has not had a decent meal for a week and is too weak to rise from his creaking bed. [...] His daughter Khadija, who was the interpreter, says there has not been provision for the sick, aged and children in relief food distribution in Bangale Location. [...] Bangale Chief Abdi Buru admitted that food distribution was unfair to the sick, children and the aged. Mr Buru said the World Food Programme brought food, but was only enough for 1,550 people. "I have been forced to come up with a fresh list of people who are sick or aged who need relief food or else they could die," Buru said. The chief said several deserving people miss out.

30 March 2009

"Every trucker should know how to change a tyre and put on a condom," said Anisa Abdalla, a doctor in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, at the opening of a new "roadside wellness centre" offering HIV services to truck drivers and other transport workers. The centre – opened on Thursday by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in conjunction with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, UNAIDS and the Kenya Ports Authority – aims to curb the spread of HIV among truckers travelling the “northern corridor”, which stretches from Mombasa to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

28 March 2009

The US Government opted to let commercial entities deal with American maize exports after the National Cereals and Produce Board proved too costly for the job, Ambassador Michael Ranneberger said. [...] Beyond commercial deals, the US says it has been the largest donor of food and other emergency aid to Kenya in the recent past. Most of its intervention here as elsewhere has been through the World Food Programme, which the diplomat termed the largest and most efficient organisation in food distribution.

27 March 2009

Rose Mwembe has not had a corn harvest in six months. Last year’s late season rains never came and the current rainy season is already a month late, meaning she cannot plant for at least another month. [...] The irony of this drought-stricken region is that it is just a few dozen kilometres from Kenya’s verdant coast, where people survive on fish rather than agriculture. The drought has hit parts of central and northern Kenya as well and has added to the growing food crisis here. “We depend on rain-fed agriculture,” said Simon Mwangi, a programme assistant with the World Food Programme (WFP). “Our problem is an overdependence on maize as a staple food. People should diversify and plant crops that are more drought resistant.” The drought is just one factor contributing to Kenya’s food crisis.

26 March 2009

Hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees holed up in northern Kenya face a "humanitarian emergency" this year as disease starts spreading through overcrowded camps, Oxfam warned on Friday. [...] Aid workers say the humanitarian situation in Somalia is the worst in the world. Fighting has killed more than 17,000 civilians since the start of 2007, one million more have been driven from their homes and about a third of the population -- more than 3 million people -- need emergency food aid.

25 March 2009

Under the World Food Programme's emergency operations, 1.2 million people affected by drought and post-election violence also receive food. High food prices have taken their toll on the daily lives of Kenyans. Poverty and food insecurity are highest in urban slums and among pastoralists and farmers in remote, arid and semi-arid lands, which constitute 80 per cent of Kenya's land mass. Many households in these areas are chronically poor, and there are persistently high malnutrition rates among children under 5.

19 March 2009

The United Nations agencies said more than 14,000 new Somali refugees have been registered in Kenya in January, adding to a refugee population which already far exceeds the capacity of existing camps and support mechanisms. "New arrivals are expected to continue during the course of the year. Therefore, there is an immediate need to decongest existing camps and accommodate arrivals in new camps with adequate infrastructure," said OCHA, citing figures from the UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF.

19 March 2009

Kenya's drought and food shortages are expected to last until March 2010, seven months longer than previously projected, said a joint Kenya-United Nations report posted online Thursday. (...) As a result of the new assessment, the U.N. food agency is increasing its food aid program in Kenya, said Peter Smerdon, a World Food Program spokesman.

18 March 2009

The World Food Programme (WFP) will now feed 3.5 million people hit by drought and high food prices. Many families are struggling to find food for one meal a day, it said. The Kenyan government declared a national disaster in January following the failure of the short rains in south-eastern and coastal areas. BBC correspondents say last year's political violence has also contributed to food shortages because many displaced people were unable to plant their crops.