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UN appeals for US $166 million dollars to aid Kenyan pastoralists | Coastweek

MARSABIT (Xinhua) -- A herder with an iconic (Lee Enfield Bolt action) rifle grazes his domestic animals in Marsabit, one of the most severe drought-hit regions in Kenya. The United Nations in Kenya has launched a U.S. $166 million dollars urgent appeal to address the country’s biting drought that has affected an estimated 2.7 million people. XINHUA PHOTO - PAN SIWEI

UN appeals for US $166 million dollars to aid Kenyan pastoralists

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- The United Nations and its humanitarian partners on Thursday appealed for 166 million U.S. dollars to aid Kenyan pastoralists and farmers whose livestock and crops are suffering amid what the Kenyan government declared a "national drought disaster," a UN spokesman told reporters here.

"Today in Nairobi, the UN family along with the government of Kenya launched a Flash Appeal of 166 million U.S. dollars to address the devastating consequences of drought on pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in the North of the African country, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.

Below average rainfall in 2016 has caused severe dryness in the country’s arid and semi-arid counties, doubling the number of severely food insecure Kenyans to 2.6 million, he said.

"The Flash Appeal complements the government’s ongoing nine-month response plan," Dujarric said.

"With these funds, humanitarian actors will provide life-saving food, health, water and sanitation services to 2.6 million vulnerable Kenyans over the next ten months," said Siddharth Chatterjee, UN resident coordinator in Kenya.

Half of the country is affected by the drought brought on by a third consecutive year of unreliable rains.

Below average rains are "causing thirst and hunger, decimating livestock, destroying livelihoods, spreading disease, and causing large movements of people," according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The latest flash appeal is a complement to Kenya’s ongoing nine-month response plan which faces a funding gap of 108 million U.S. dollars, OCHA said.

Earlier this month, Stephen O’Brien, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and the head of OCHA, visited Kenya to highlight the risk of famine facing people there, as well as in Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

Reporting his observations to the UN Security Council upon his return, O’Brien, who is also the UN emergency relief coordinator, said the international community is "facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN."


UN launches funding appeal to address Kenyan drought

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The United Nations in Kenya on Thursday launched a 166 million-U.S. dollars urgent appeal to address the country’s biting drought that has affected an estimated 2.7 million people.

United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya Siddharth Chatterjee told a media briefing in Nairobi that the primary purpose of the appeal is to ensure that no Kenyan dies as a result of food or water scarcity.

"The appeal will also help to complement government efforts that started last year to deal with the drought," Chatterjee said.

Failed rains in the last two seasons are to blame for severe drought in 23 Kenyan counties.

The funds raised from the appeal will be used by humanitarian actors to provide life-saving food, health, water and sanitation services to vulnerable people over the next ten months.

Chatterjee said the appeal was necessary as the drought has increased in severity over the past several months.

"In Novemver in 2016, 1.3 million people were affected by the drought but the figure has since increased to 2.7 million people in the Arid and Semi Arid areas (ASAL)," he said.

According to the UN official, the drought has resulted in malnutrition rates in the affected areas going up and has also led to a large number of children dropping out of school due to lack of access to food and water.

On Feb. 10, Kenya declared the drought a national disaster in order to galvanize national and international support to deal with the drought.

Chatterjee said that the UN system will assist Kenya to make a quick recovery from the current drought and also ensure that the East African nation does not experience a similar situation in the future.

African Union calls for solidarity with drought-hit African countries

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) on Thursday called for greater solidarity with African countries affected by the ongoing drought and famine.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, the newly elected chairperson of the AU Commission, is deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in parts of Africa affected by drought and famine, which is the most severe food security emergency in the world today, said a statement from the pan-African bloc.

Close to 12 million people in South Sudan, Somalia and northeast Nigeria are in dire need of emergency food assistance, noted the statement.

Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan, and this situation has led to major displacements into neighboring countries, it said.

The statement added that the situation in the countries is compounded by insecurity and conflict.

The chairperson has expressed AU’s profound appreciation to its member states that have opened their borders and provided assistance to those in need.

Mahamat has urged all AU member states to contribute financial and technical support to alleviate the suffering of the affected populations.

He also appealed to AU partners and international humanitarian organizations to provide the much-needed financial and logistical support to assist the affected countries to avert a catastrophe.

Number of drought-related deaths on rise in Somalia: United Nations

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- More than 11,000 acute watery diarrhoea or cholera cases and 268 drought-related deaths have been reported since January in Somalia, Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said at the daily news briefing Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Federal Government launched its first-ever vaccination campaign in Somalia, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO), targeting more than 450,000 at-risk people, said Dujarric.

"The UN and our partners have strategic, targeted plans and teams on the ground; and we are scaling up our response to avert a possible famine," he said.

Some 6.2 million people, more than half of Somalia’s population, are in need of lifesaving humanitarian assistance, he added.


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