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More Kenyans might be in need of food aid

National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) has confirmed that 800,000 Kenyans were in need of food aid.
The government agency warned that if the current weather situation does not improve in the coming month, the number, from the 23 counties, could increase to 1.1 million people.
NDMA Director Technical Services, Sunya Orre said, “300,000 additional people majority of whom are in the marginal agricultural counties will also require assistance”.
According to Orre, Sh34.2 billion was needed for intervention measures in relation to the current food security situation.
Orre, who was speaking Friday when releasing the food and nutrition security assessment report for the 2018 short rains and 2019 long rains, said despite the overall food security in the country remaining stable compared to the same period in 2017, the situation has deteriorated in the pastoral and marginal agricultural livelihoods.
The food security situation worsened in February 2019 after the short rains season compared to 2018 and more households currently face stressed acute food insecurity levels.
He added that NDMA has since disbursed Sh75.7 million for various response interventions following the drought experienced in some counties since the beginning of 2019 as a result of inadequate October-November-December 2018 short rains.
He explained that funds have also been disbursed to support sector specific interventions namely Garissa Sh10.4 million and Sh7.4 million in Wajir counties, while requests for Tana River, West Pokot and Turkana counties were being processed.
“Additional funds have been released for drought shock-responsive cash transfers under the Hunger Safety Net Programme. A total of Sh.57.6 million was released to 21,344 households in Turkana and Wajir counties based on vegetation condition index thresholds for January 2019,” he said.
Under the regular bi-monthly cash transfers, Orre said NDMA has released a further Sh541 million from the government to 100,000 vulnerable households in the four counties, Marsabit, Turkana, Wajir and Mandera with every household receiving Sh5, 400.
The Direction further said NDMA was closely monitoring the drought situation across the country as well as the onset, distribution and performance of the 2019 March-May long rains.
The assessment was conducted by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group which is a multi-agency body comprising government departments, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations dealing with food and nutrition security.

A senior livestock program coordinator from FAO Piers Simpkin advised farmers to take advantage of the current livestock prices which were expected to rise if the drought continued.
“The projected average rains are expected to regenerate forage and water resources by late March to early April hence improving livestock productivity. I advise farmers not to wait to sell off their animals during the drought period when prices are low, but should instead take advantage of the current high market prices,” said Simpkin.
The Kenya Food Security meeting team will for next six months monitor high malnutrition levels, crop pests and diseases, livestock disease outbreaks, impacts of programmes and interventions, as well as the performance of the 201 March-May long rains including onset and distribution.
By Wangari Ndirangu


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