3.5 million Kenyans facing hunger, IGAD says

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Some 3.5 million Kenyans are facing hunger brought about by the ongoing drought, IGAD has said.

IGAD executive director Workneh Gebeyehu told the press on Monday that approximately 29 million people are staring at food insecurity and some 15.5 million need food in Africa region.

The IGAD boss said no life has been lost but some livestock had died due to the food shortage.

“Several wild animals have also died,” he said and urged the donors to step up and assist as much as they can.

Gebeyehu said that long rains have also delayed Kenya.

“During this period, farmers are expected to prepare their land as the seasonal rainfall highly impacts the agricultural sector and hence food security in the country,” he said.

The crisis compelled the government to declare the current drought a national disaster before mobilising all agencies to respond to the drought situation.

Counties reeling from the effects of drought include Kwale, Lamu, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Turkana, Samburu, and West Pokot.

Other on the list include Baringo, Kajiado, Narok, Laikipia, Nyeri, Embu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Makueni, Kitui, Marsabit, Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera.

The forecast for the March-April-May 2022 long rains season by the Kenya Meteorological Department showed that enhanced rainfall was expected, with a 35 per cent probability, over the Highlands West of the Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria Basin, Central and South Rift Valley.

And even as the drought situation continues to worsen, over Sh100 million worth of relief food was sent to drought-stricken areas.

Public service and Gender CS Margaret Kobia flagged off the food donations.

The food donations are a result of contributions from the government in partnership with private sector players, including various media organisations.

Safaricom CEO  Peter Ndegwa said that the Pamoja Tuungane Drought Response campaign is a rallying call to Kenyans to come together to help fellow Kenyans.

“Private sector cannot succeed if Kenyans cannot succeed,” he said.

He said that no one sector can be able to solve all the collective problems our country faces, therefore a cross-sector partnership is required.

Public service and Gender CS Margaret Kobia said that over 20,000 households in Marsabit would be beneficiaries of this aid.

“Due to the delayed rains, it is projected that over 3 million Kenyans in over 23 drought-stricken counties will be affected,” She said.

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