Kenya declares drought a national disaster, appeals for local and international help

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The Kenya Red Cross estimated about 2.7 million people were in need of food aid after low rainfall in October and November, with the next rainy season not due before April.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called for “local and international partners to come in and support the government’s efforts to contain the situation”.

Out of Kenya’s 47 counties, 23 have been deemed to be facing disastrous drought.

The UN World Food Programme said it was short of $29 million for the next six to nine months to provide support such as school meals for 428,000 children who often depend on them as their only substantial meal of the day.

The presidency did not set out how much the Kenyan Government needed for the drought, but said it had released 7.3 billion shillings ($92 million) and local authorities had provided another 2 billion.

“The Government intends to enhance the interventions including doubling of food rations and cash transfers among other measures,” the presidency said in a statement.

Early this month, residents in drought-struck northern Kenya said at least 11 people were killed and a tourist lodge torched due to conflicts when armed cattle herders flooded onto farms and wildlife reserves.

 ©Alleastafrica and Reuters

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