Wednesday, May 18, 2022

UN humanitarian official urges attention to drought in Kenya

TURKANA, Kenya ( Associated Press) — A top UN humanitarian official has raised concerns about people starving in a remote part of northern Kenya, giving the international community more resources to address the wider region’s drought crisis. Joining the call to give.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths said he saw families in Kenya’s Turkana region with nothing left after their animals starved. Turkana is the epicenter of a drought affecting parts of the East African country.

“The world’s attention is elsewhere, and we know it,” Griffiths said during a field trip Thursday. “And the misery of the world has not left Turkana, and the rain of the world has not come to Turkana, and we have seen four successive failures of rain.”

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Griffith and other humanitarian representatives visited a pastoral community in the Lomuputh region of Turkana in an effort to draw attention to the humanitarian challenge posed by the drought.

“Lomoputth deserves our attention,” Griffiths said, noting that children scavenged to eat the fruit need help with “the slightest chance of survival the next day.”

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the drought situation a national disaster in September 2021.

Some residents of Lomoputh spoke to The Associated Press about their dire need for food aid.

“I haven’t got any help and this kid hasn’t eaten anything since yesterday,” said Jacinta Maluk, a mother of five. “That’s the main problem.”

Extreme drought in Kenya, where 3.5 million people are affected by severe food insecurity and acute malnutrition, has added to the reasons people go hungry.

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The United Nations warned earlier this year that an estimated 13 million people in the wider Horn of Africa region face severe hunger as a result of persistent drought conditions. Malnutrition rates are high in the region, and drought conditions are affecting pastoral and farming communities.

Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are experiencing the driest conditions since 1981, the United Nations World Food Program reported in February.

Somalia is seen as particularly vulnerable. In 2011, when the United Nations declared famine in some parts of the country, about 250,000 people died of hunger. Half of them were children.

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