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USAID boss calls for enhanced donor support in Turkana

USAID Administrator Samantha Power is in Turkana County for a tour of Turkana North where she called for more donor support to address the biting drought.

Ms Power said that 2.4 million livestock in the country have died and regretted that the communities were facing an existential crisis due to failed rains.

“Due to insufficient rains that have caused water sources to continue to dry and as a result 2.4 million livestock in Kenya have already died in this drought and pastoralists who depend on those livestock for their livelihood now have nothing,” she said.

“Families that depend on livestock for their livelihoods, like the ones I met today in Turkana, Kenya, are facing an existential crisis during this drought. USAID is rushing support, but other donors must step up to avoid a hunger catastrophe,” she said.

The pastoralists are dependent on humanitarian assistance. She said the United States is providing humanitarian assistance and called on other countries to step up the assistance.

She interacted with men and women who have lost all or most of their livestock and livelihoods to the devastating drought.

She visited Kachoda Health Dispensary, a health facility that treats sick and malnourished children under five.

The Administrator spoke with staff and health experts about how to tackle both the immediate and long-term impacts of the unprecedented drought and food insecurity crisis on children’s nutrition.

According to a statement released by Acting Spokesperson Shejal Pulivarti, USAID team also met with mothers who have children suffering from acute malnutrition and who have been treated with Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) and Ready-to-Use Supplementary Food (RUSF) products that are manufactured in Kenya and purchased through USAID-funding.

Administrator Power then toured a World Food Programme food distribution site that provides assistance to drought-impacted families, particularly during lean season when people cannot access enough food to meet their needs.

The food distributed today complements cash assistance USAID is supporting for vulnerable drought affected families in Kenya.

The Administrator spoke with community leaders about actions needed to build resilience and nourishing livelihoods that could withstand future shocks. Administrator Power met with community leaders at a water site in Kachoda that was rehabilitated with USAID support and that provides clean, safe water to people and livestock.

She also met with Turkana County officials and farmers at Kachoda Agronutrition Farm where they are providing training and farmland to people impacted by the drought to encourage income and nutrient diversification.

The Administrator met with leaders at Sanergy, an American company providing sanitation services in informal settlements and producing organic fertilizer for Kenya’s small-scale farmers.

She reiterated USAID’s commitment in working with the private sector to strengthen markets, provide access to sanitation, and to treat and reuse waste in climate-friendly ways.

By Peter Gitonga

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