NAIROBI, Sept 24 (NNN-KBC) — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received record funding from the US government to mitigate the biting hunger in Kenya.
The Ksh23.5B grant is the largest ever by a single donor to WFP’s operation in Kenya. Welcoming the contribution of US$194.5 million through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the humanitarian organisation in a statement said it will be used to provide critical food and nutrition assistance and resilience-building initiatives for thousands of people facing the worst drought in four decades.
“We are extremely grateful for this record contribution from the US Government to support thousands of people affected by severe drought and those driven from their homes by conflict,’” said Lauren Landis, WFP’s Country Director in Kenya. “WFP is rapidly scaling up life-saving assistance to support more drought-affected families whose livelihoods have been devastated by four consecutive failed rainy seasons.”
The funding comes just a week after the World Health Organisation Foundation launched a fundraising campaign to raise funds to respond to the drought crises in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region in Africa.
28 million people in the greater Horn of Africa are acutely food insecure. These countries include parts of Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda.
The support will enable WFP to scale up its drought response by providing food and cash assistance to 535,000 people facing emergency levels of hunger (up from 108,000 people in the first half of 2022), treat malnutrition in 570,000 young children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, and increase food rations to 80 pc (up from 50 pc) for over 500,000 refugees.
WFP will also continue providing resilience-building initiatives such as rehabilitating irrigation infrastructure and livelihood diversification programmes such as beekeeping and the introduction of drought-tolerant crops for 370,000 people.
“There is still no end in sight to this drought crisis and we call on all donors to ensure predictable and sustainable funding through this year and well into 2023 to save lives and stop more people from falling into deeper levels of hunger,” said Landis.
There are currently 3.5 million food insecure Kenyans due to drought according to the 2022 Long Rains Assessment report released in August.
Over 700,000 people are at emergency levels and an estimated 940,000 children (aged 6-59 months) and 135,000 pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers across the country are acutely malnourished and in need of urgent treatment.
The report also estimates that the number of food insecure people could rise to 4.35 million by October as the drought worsens. — NNN-KBC