UN and partners appeal for USD 166 million for drought mitigation in Kenya

PRECIOUS LIQUID: A man drinks from a water pan. The drought that is currently being experienced in many parts of Kenya has caused widespread and severe water and food shortage.

16/3/2017... The United Nations today launched an appeal for USD I66 million to go into the drought mitigation initiative in Kenya. Speaking during the event where he was also joined by relevant Government Secretaries and officials, representatives of key donor partners and key humanitarian organizations, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee said that more had to be done to ensure that no one dies from hunger.
The drought which has also hit other parts of the Eastern Africa region set in late last year after many parts of the country received either very low or no rainfall at all for three consecutive seasons. On 7 February, 2017, the Government of Kenya declared the drought a national disaster and announced that 23 out of the 47 counties were affected. Following the announcement, the Government, the Kenya Red Cross, the United Nations and partners immediately stepped up efforts in reducing human suffering and avoiding possible life loss, all in the hope that the climatic conditions would improve soon.
But the situation has gotten worse. Currently, some 2.6 million Kenyans in Arid and Semi-Arid Areas (ASAL) and 300,000 more from other parts of the country are severely food insecure. A similar number lack access to safe drinking water while more than 357,000 children, pregnant women and new mothers are acutely malnourished.
Six Kenyan sub-counties have reported Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates above the 15 per cent global emergency threshold. More alarmingly, GAM rates in Turkana North, Marsabit and Mandera have exceeded 30 per cent – more than double the emergency threshold. Conditions are likely to deteriorate if the next rain season fails, as is currently predicted
It is the current enormity of the disaster that occasioned the flash appeal for additional funds. “The humanitarian response has benefited a great deal from the innovation as has been demonstrated using the use of the cash transfer system to assist the affected. However, it is by investing more resources into fighting the disaster that will prevent it from escalating into a catastrophe,’’ said Mr. Abbas Gullet, the Kenya Red Cross Secretary General.
Mr. Chatterjee thanked the Government for the leadership, adding that “with these funds, humanitarian actors will provide life-saving food, health, water and sanitation services to 2.6 million vulnerable Kenyans over the next ten months.”
On behalf of the Government of Kenya, Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Mr. Joseph Kinyua hailed the renewed efforts by the UN and other partners. He said that even as the Government has prioritized the humanitarian response, they were looking beyond the drought and ad hoc humanitarian response in general. “It is not inevitable that drought should lead to food insecurity, malnutrition, disease and displacement. We know how to tackle both the causes and the consequences through early warning systems, immediate resource mobilization, long-term resilience programming, and coordinated action across all sectors. We must act together now to avert further suffering,” he said.