Kenyan Deputy President, development partners, meet in support of food security in Kenya
NAIROBI – Kenyan Deputy President H.E. Rigathi Gachagua on Monday 20 March 2023, led a delegation of ambassadors and donor representatives at the Port of Mombasa in receiving 41,000 metric tons (mt) of relief food for distribution by the United Nations World Food Programme.
The Port is the heart of WFP’s operations in the region with over 200,000 mt of food destined for nine countries passing through each year.
The Deputy President and the ambassadors viewed a WFP-chartered vessel, MV Valsamitis, which is discharging 25,000 mt of wheat bought from Ukrainian farmers. The shipment was made possible through the generous contributions of Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The shipment is the first for WFP’s food assistance programmes in Kenya since the signing of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July 2022, which opened up a maritime humanitarian corridor allowing for the export of food commodities from Ukraine.
The delegation also witnessed the bagging of more than 16,000 mt of sorghum donated by the United States ready for delivery to families in need. The in-kind contribution from the United States Government through USAID is part of more than US$60 million worth of food commodities donated to Kenya through the World Food Programme over the past year. USAID has also contributed US$277 million in direct funding.
With this record support from USAID, WFP is doubling its life-saving assistance to reach about 1 million people facing acute hunger and an additional half a million with nutrition support.
“‘Food insecurity and acute hunger are on the rise following the fifth consecutive failed rainy season affecting Kenya and the region. As more Kenyans are affected by the on-going drought, we are also seeing more refugees fleeing conflict and drought in the Horn of Africa region arriving in the Kenyan camps – all needing urgent assistance. We are so thankful that these newly arrived food supplies will be able to complement the government and NGO assistance to make an immediate impact on the lives of the most vulnerable,” said Lauren Landis, WFP’s Country Director in Kenya.
“WFP is also elated by the news over the weekend that the Black Sea Grain Initiative has been extended. We call upon the donor community to continue to step up all forms of support during this time of an unprecedented crisis,” said Landis.
Currently, 4.4 million Kenyans are facing acute hunger and this number could rise to 5.4 million by June. It is estimated that about 130,000 refugees have arrived in Dadaab since the onset of the current drought crisis, bringing the total number of refugees in need of food assistance to half a million.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.