2.1 million Kenyans face starvation due to a drought in half the country affecting harvests. The affected regions are usually the most food-insecure in Kenya due to high levels of poverty.
People living in 23 counties across the arid north, northeastern and coastal parts of the country will be in “urgent need” of food aid over the next six months, after poor rains between March and May this year.
Asha Mohammed, secretary general of the Kenya Red Cross, said most of the affected counties had already had to deal with desert locust invasions, flash floods and tribal conflicts driven by diminishing resources.
“You have two seasons of depressed rains, desert locusts ravaging farmlands in the same counties and people fighting over the few resources available. That is the making of a disaster,” said Mohammed. She said it was not only farmers who had been affected by the drought, but also people in urban areas who had been forced to pay higher prices for the little available food. “There is some food reaching the urban areas within these counties but there is little purchasing power because many have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.”
Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the drought a national disaster promising “comprehensive drought mitigation measures”.
In July, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Kenya said the country needed 9.4bn Kenyan shillings (£62m) to mitigate the effects of the drought between July and November.