Saturday, January 24, 2009

UN set to double food aid in 'catastrophic' Kenya

Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: The United Nations is aiming to double food aid for Kenya to reach at least four million people because of a situation the World Food Programme described Friday as "catastrophic". President Mwai Kibaki declared a "national disaster" in Kenya a week ago, saying 10 million people faced food shortages and launching an appeal for 400 million dollars (312 million euros) in foreign aid.

"We will certainly have to more than double the number of people who are benefitting," Burkard Oberle, the UN food relief agency's representative in Kenya, told journalists in Geneva. "We will have to stretch our assistance from 2.1 million people to anywhere between four and 4.8 million in the worst case scenario. We are seeing at the moment a catastrophic decline in the food security in Kenya," Oberle said.

Kibaki says the food crisis is mainly due to drought but blames last year's post-electoral violence for disrupting the planting season and also points to high inflation and a global surge in food prices. Southeastern and coastal areas of Kenya, which only have one harvest a year, are particularly hard hit, according to the World Food Programme….

The Nairobi River in Kenya. UN photo

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