Over 2 million people in Kenya face acute hunger due to drought, warns IRC

By Soko Directory Team / Published September 29, 2021 | 10:56 am




KEY POINTS

Investing now to tackle hunger and food insecurity resulting from climate shocks will save time, money, and lives in the long run. The country is in urgent need of funding to be able to meet basic humanitarian needs and mitigate the impact of future shocks.


long rain

Due to drought and low crop production, 2.1 million Kenyans and refugees will be facing acute food insecurity in the next 6 months, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has warned.

At the beginning of September, the president of Kenya declared the drought a national disaster following a national rainfall report. IRC has expressed similar concerns about the growing humanitarian needs following months of droughts in parts of the country.

Mohammed El Montassir Hussein, IRC Kenya Country Director noted that the drought is reminiscent of the great famine of 2011.

“We are very concerned about the growing humanitarian needs as people move out of their hometowns in search of places closer to water sources. Livestock are dying and men, women, and children are going hungry and thirsty. Across the eastern and southern parts of the country, the rains received were as little as 51% of what is expected,” he added.

Lamu Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu, Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Kilifi, and Taita Taveta counties received amounts that were as little as 26% of normal rainfall.

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Turkana and Garissa are both refugee-hosting counties which put the already vulnerable refugee population at further risk given the planned closure of the camps in May 2022.

Many people living in these areas rely heavily on crops as a source of nutrition and livelihoods, and the droughts have resulted in below-average crop production. Household stocks are up to 66% below the average for all crops. This is worse in the coastal region.

High food prices coupled with declining livestock prices have impacted negatively on households’ ability to buy basic necessities. Earlier than normal migration of up to 60% of livestock mainly in search of pasture and water has intensified insecurity and conflict as well as high risk of livestock diseases.

Climate change remains the main driver of the erratic and recurring droughts and has been partly attributed to the recent locust outbreaks in East Africa, causing widespread food insecurity. The crisis has also contributed to poor health outcomes.

Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns are likely to exacerbate the spread of vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria. Lack of access to clean water will lead to a higher incidence of diarrhea, a major cause of death for children under 5.

Coupled with the destruction of fragile ecosystems, the changing climate has a profound impact on the occurrence of viruses like COVID-19 that emerge from animals.

“We must prepare for future climate emergencies, with communities given financial support and decision-making power. Local leaders (particularly indigenous populations), smallholder farmers, and livestock herders already have the knowledge and experience necessary to confront this crisis.,” said the IRC director.

Future response to climate change must also be feminist, recognizing the unique and disproportionate ways women are impacted. As farmers, carers, or activists, women (and women-led organizations) are central to food security and effective climate change mitigation.

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A secure aid budget – fulfilled in line with the internationally endorsed target of 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) – and risk-informed financing that can be quickly deployed, is critical to mitigating the impact of future shocks.

Investing now to tackle hunger and food insecurity resulting from climate shocks will save time, money, and lives in the long run. The country is in urgent need of funding to be able to meet basic humanitarian needs and mitigate the impact of future shocks.




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

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