from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – MORE than 73 000 children, 40 000 pregnant and nursing women in Kenya are severely malnourished and at risk of death from drought-related hunger.
Humanitarian agencies have thus called for aid to be made available urgently.
Following the disputed general election nearly two weeks ago, the aid
organisations are urgently calling on the national and local
governments—who are leading on the drought response, in coordination with aid agencies—to prioritise critical funds and support for the response.
This includes food programmes to reach the most vulnerable and prevent needless deaths.
“The drought has left tens of thousands of children and families—including the most vulnerable under five, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in a life-threatening situation,” said Francis Woods, Save the Children’s Director in Kenya.
A survey by United Nations Children’s Fund and partners agencies shows that in Turkana alone, severe acute malnutrition rates–the most
life-threatening form of hunger–are up nearly four-fold in just one year
to 8,3 percent.
In Turkana South, an unprecedented 12 percent of children under five now suffer severe acute malnutrition.
Rates are also alarming in rates in East Pokot (5,8 percent), Mandera (5,2 percent), Samburu (3,8 percent), and West Pokot (3,2 percent).
These counties have also witnessed extreme deterioration in nutrition and food security.
As experienced in neighbouring Somalia, the risk is that once the high
rates of malnutrition combine with disease outbreaks prompted by a lack of clean water, large numbers of young children will start to die from hunger and related complications.
– CAJ News