Hunger in the news

24 January 2009

The United Nations is aiming to double food aid for Kenya to reach at least four million people because of a situation the World Food Programme described Friday as "catastrophic". President Mwai Kibaki declared a "national disaster" in Kenya a week ago, saying 10 million people faced food shortages and launching an appeal for 400 million dollars (312 million euros) in foreign aid. [...] "We will certainly have to more than double the number of people who are benefitting," Burkard Oberle, the UN food relief agency's representative in Kenya, told journalists in Geneva. [...] Southeastern and coastal areas of Kenya, which only have one harvest a year, are particularly hard hit, according to the World Food Programme.

24 January 2009

The World Food Program warns Kenya is facing a catastrophic decline of food and the agency will have to more than double the number of people it feeds there to over four million. WFP says drought and erratic rains following three successively poor harvest seasons have resulted in widespread crop failure. [...] WFP representative in Kenya, Burkard Oberle, says this post-election crisis set off a whole chain of instability, which has increased food shortages. He says southeastern and coastal areas of Kenya are particularly hard hit. "I have been traveling through the area myself and have seen very shocking pictures of crops having wilted, of whole fields not producing a single kernel of grain, of livestock migrating now into more distant regions in search of water," said Oberle. "Diseases for livestock are also on the increase. Rift Valley fever is also a threat that is spreading."

23 January 2009

Kenya's parliament has given the government the green light to seek 7.9 billion shillings (about 99.1 million U.S. dollars) to buy food for the hungry citizens. The plan faced failure after lawmakers on Wednesday refused to allow the government to guarantee a loan to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) for the purchase of relief food for the hungry. [...] 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. 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.

19 January 2009

The Kenyan government on Friday launched an international appeal seeking 37 billion shillings (about 463 million U.S. dollars) to feed its hungry population as it has declared the famine situation in the country as a national disaster. [...] Currently, the Kenyan government and the World Food Program are feeding 1.4 million people under [an] emergency operation program. Another 1 million people are also fed through direct government interventions. However, Kibaki said these ongoing programs cannot absorb the sharp increase in numbers of needy people requiring relief food without additional resources.

9 January 2009

Ten million people risk going hungry in Kenya after harvests failed because of drought, the government said Friday. The government declared a national emergency and will lift the import duty on maize until the next major harvest, which will not be for a year in many areas. The emergency declaration allows the government to divert money from development projects to food aid and to use disaster funds that are held in reserve, said government spokesman Alfred Mutua. [...] The U.N.'s World Food Program is already feeding 1.2 million people in Kenya, said spokesman Peter Smerdon. "We do expect the numbers in need to increase significantly," he said. The last state of emergency declared because of hunger was more than four years ago.