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Call for urgent action against extreme hunger

The war against drought in the country has received a boost in the arm after the launch of the ‘Okoa Maisha’ initiative which is aimed at raising funds to assist those affected by the famine.

The initiative was launched on Thursday by Ambassador of Hope, Okoa Maisha Reuben Kigame, Pastoralist Parliamentary Group (PPG) and Drylands Learning and Capacity Building Initiative with a call to Kenyans to donate and assist their suffering countrymen.

Speaking during the press briefing at the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Guest House in Nairobi, Kigame called for special attention to the critical hunger situation and the serious crisis that Kenya is struggling with.

“The Arid and Semi-Arid counties of Kenya (ASALS) are experiencing a fifth consecutive season of severely depressed rainfall and this has led to acute water shortages, livestock death, crop failures and serious mental health challenges.

According to the Humanitarian Network and national disaster reports, over 4.5 million Kenyans in ASAL counties are experiencing acute food insecurity,” said Kigame.

He added that over 2.5 million animal deaths have been reported, an estimate of 54,500 children are at the risk of dropping out of school at a sensitive time of national examinations and over 942,000 children under the age of five years are severely affected as malnutrition levels in some of these counties including Marsabit, Turkana and Kajiado hit three times the global average.

“Through this initiative, Kenyans of diverse faith, political persuasions, private and non-state sectors are mobilizing humanitarian support from Kenyans of goodwill to cushion our severely affected brothers and sisters who are at a dire risk of starvation,” he added.

He also noted that the initiative is targeting to reach over one million severely affected Kenyans from ASAL counties in short term and millions in the long-term and called on support with dry food stuff, nutritional supplements to malnourished children, money, water, and logistics support such as transport among other emergency needs.

“A dedicated pay bill number –188668; Account Number: Okoa Maisha, has been set up for the same and we plead with the Fourth Estate to help us in spreading this message as widely as possible,” noted Kigame.

He appreciated the support they have received so far from PPG, Drylands Learning and Capacity Building Group, Juhudi Mashinani and Christ is the Answer (CITAM) ministries and the ongoing humanitarian efforts of the Government of Kenya, county government, non-state actors, faith-based organisations, private sector players and other Kenyans of goodwill.

By Irene Mwende and Edna Okoth

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