Press release: UN and partners appeal for US$166 million to save lives threatened by drought in Northern Kenya

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Press release: UN and partners appeal for US$166 million to save lives threatened by drought in Northern Kenya

NAIROBI (16 March 2017) – The United Nations and humanitarian partners have appealed for US$166 million to address the devastating consequences of drought on pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in northern Kenya.

The third consecutive year of unreliable rains is causing thirst and hunger, decimating livestock, destroying livelihoods, spreading disease, and causing large movements of people. Half of Kenya’s 47 counties are affected by what the Government has declared a national drought disaster.

Below average rainfall in 2016 has caused severe dryness in the country’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) counties, doubling the number of severely food insecure Kenyans to 2.6 million in less than a year. A similar number lack access to safe drinking water. More than 357,000 children, pregnant women and new mothers are acutely malnourished.

Six Kenyan sub-counties have reported Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates above the 15 per cent global emergency threshold. More alarmingly, GAM rates in Turkana North, Marsabit and Mandera have exceeded 30 per cent – more than double the emergency threshold. Conditions are likely to deteriorate if the next rain season fails, as is currently predicted.

The Flash Appeal complements the Government of Kenya’s ongoing nine-month response plan (November 2016 – July 2017), which currently faces a funding gap of US$108 million. The Government has allocated US$100 million against the overall estimated requirement of US$208 million.

A variety of national and internationally-supported cash and food assistance programmes are providing a much-needed safety net to vulnerable families, but the growing needs are overwhelming the capacity to respond.

“The United Nations commends the Government of Kenya’s leadership in tackling the devastating effects of drought on some of the country’s most vulnerable communities. Today we appeal for US$166 million, to support those efforts through the United Nations and other partners. 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.

“It is not inevitable that drought should lead to food insecurity, malnutrition, disease and displacement. We know how to tackle both the causes and the consequences through early warning systems, immediate resource mobilisation, long-term resilience programming, and coordinated action across all sectors. We must act together now to avert further suffering,” said Joseph Kinyua, Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service, Office of the President of Kenya.

For more information contact:

Nasser Ega-Musa, Director, UN Information Centre, Nairobi

n.ega-musa@unon.org, Tel + 254-20-7625421/0714 636355

Newton Kanhema, Deputy Director, UN Information Centre, Nairobi newton.kanhema@unon.org,

Tel: +254-20-7621102/ 0709 021102

Farah Dakhlallah, OCHA Regional Office for Southern and Eastern Africa dakhlallah2@un.org

Click to see Press conference photos at Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

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