Kenya: 3 Million Remain Dependent on Food Aid in Wake of Drought

Some 3 million Kenyans, mostly pastoralists, remain dependent on food aid following the country’s prolonged drought earlier this year. Although recent rainfall has helped reduce the number of affected people from a peak of 3.5 million, the United Nations World Food Programme is facing shortfalls in its aid operations in the country. Because international donor contributions have slowed considerably, WFP has so far received only $155 million, or 69 per cent of the $225 million needed for its Emergency Operation from March 2006 until March 2007.

An assessment by the Kenyan government, WFP, other UN agencies, and non-governmental organizations found that the latest rains varied from fair to good in the northeast, coast and parts of the south, to 50-75 per cent below normal in north western and northern parts of Kenya. Given that 84 per cent of Kenya’s land area is arid or semi-arid, drought will inevitably return before long. Sustainable development that alleviates poverty and broadens people’s livelihoods in drought-susceptible areas is crucial.