WFP commits US$54m to mitigate drought in Kenya

NAIROBI. — The World Food Programme (WFP) yesterday committed 7 billion shillings (about 54 million US dollars) as relief assistance to help some 940,300 people facing severe drought in ten counties in Kenya.

Lauren Landis, WFP country director for Kenya, said the food and cash will be distributed under the Lisha Jamii (protect family) Phase II program between April and September.

“The second phase is worth 7 billion shillings and we hope to make it 10 billion shillings. This is substantial, but we still need more,” Landis said in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, during a meeting with Kenyan Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

Landis said the ongoing nutrition program for children and lactating mothers will continue.

During the meeting, the WFP representative announced the arrival of 25 metric tons of wheat and 16 metric tons of sorghum at the Mombasa Port due next week.

Gachagua said the government is working with other partners to save lives and livelihoods.

“We have missed five consecutive rain seasons. This is the longest drought in 40 years. We have over 5.3 million Kenyans facing starvation; we have lost 2.5 million herds of livestock; thousands of children are malnourished; it is that bad,” Gachagua said.

He requested more partnerships in water supply, livestock feeding, nutrition rations for children as well as expectant and lactating mothers, and dialogue and peace-building in conflict areas.

Gachagua pointed out that food provision, including for schools, will not only save lives but also help children to learn instead of picking guns and engaging in rustling. — Xinhua

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