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Sunday, March 25, 2012

FAO seeks Sh4bn aid for Horn of Africa

Daily Nation
Sunday, March 25, 2012

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is appealing for Sh4 billion to aid farmers and pastoralists in Kenya and other countries in the Horn of Africa.

FAO said on Friday that the funding from donors is needed for a 90-day plan to distribute seeds, develop small-scale irrigation projects, initiate or accelerate animal vaccination campaigns and pay local workers for restoring agricultural infrastructure.

It is estimated that 2.2 million Kenyans, 3.2 million Ethiopians, 2.5 million Somalis and 180,000 Djiboutians need assistance.

“The international community needs to continue to support the most vulnerable households in Somalia and other arid and semi-arid lands in the Horn of Africa to cope with another possible dry spell,” said Castro Camarada, FAO’s sub-regional coordinator for Eastern Africa.

The regional climate outlook for the coming rainfall season indicates increased likelihood of below-to-near-normal rainfall over much of the Horn.

FAO’s total appeal for 2012 amounts to $294 million (Sh24.4bn) for emergency and longer-term development operations in the Horn of Africa.

But less than half that amount has been received, leaving a funding gap of $194 million (Sh16.1bn), of which $50 million (Sh 4.2bn) is urgently needed in the next 90 days.

According to the country’s Meteorological Department, food shortages are expected in most parts of the country due to poor rainfall during the long rains season.

The forecast spells doom to people who are already experiencing famine, especially in the arid and semi-arid areas.

Last year, Kenya experienced severe drought and the UN estimated that it affected more than 10 million people, mostly from the north.

It was described as the worst drought in 20 years.

Food security crisis

Kenya, alongside Ethiopia and Somalia, were listed among countries facing the world’s worst food security crisis in the eastern Horn of Africa by a US agency, Famine Early Warning System Network (Fewsnet).

In southern Ethiopia and some pastoral areas of Somalia, the agency said, “poor households are unable to access the basic food supplies needed for survival” while Somalia has been cited as the hardest hit of the three countries.

At the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, the largest in the world, about 1,300 Somalis were arriving every day, nearly two-thirds of them children.

Many were fleeing drought and food crisis, according to Save the Children Kenya organisation.


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