More than 3 million Kenyans are facing starvation due to a prolonged drought in the Rift Valley, northern and coastal areas, say humanitarian aid groups in the country.
The affected areas in Kenya are part of the Horn of Africa, which is experiencing hunger crises due to the drought. Millions of domestic and wild animals are also under threat.
According to assessments of humanitarian aid groups, including the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF), there is a need for large-scale intervention following a huge drop in crop and livestock production.
“This puts up to 3.6 million people at risk of starvation while millions of animals were suffering the same fate with increased human-wildlife conflict. The economic losses run into millions of dollars,” read part of findings of the assessments conducted in the relevant areas.
Water sources have dried up in most areas, forcing people to travel long distances in search of water and basic commodities for consumption.
Earlier this year the Kenyan government declared a national drought emergency in the affected areas where malnutrition cases were on the increase. The latest nutrition surveys showed that the sub-counties of Turkana North, North Hor and Mandera have global acute malnutrition (GAM) rates higher than 30%.
Maize production in the country’s coastal areas decreased by 99% compared to harvests before the drought. Pastoralist communities are losing livestock, with reports of large numbers of animal deaths in Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu and Mandera counties.
Data collected by UNICEF indicated that close to 200 000 children had dropped out of school due to the drought’s impact.