- Up to 20% of Kenya's annual rice production has been wiped out by a fungus, raising concerns of food insecurity in a country that has been embroiled in deadly political unrest.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(OCHA), 5,600 hectares of rice in Kenya's Central Province have been destroyed by fungus.
Tensions caused by food insecurity became deadly after four internally displaced persons were killed in the Rift Valley when they attempted to go back to their farms.
In the last few months, prices of rice and wheat have soared 75% and 120% respectively globally, creating a food crisis throughout the world. This led to protests in many countries in Africa.
Concerned that food insecurity might cause further tensions in the East African country, OCHA appealed for a further US $150 million for Kenya to help over half a million Kenyans victims of the deadly political unrest sparked off by a dispute over last December's presidential polls.
"This comes amid a humanitarian situation which remains very worrying in Kenya," Elisabeth Byrs, Spokeswoman of the OCHA told a news briefing.
In its efforts to help farmers struggling with price hikes, Kenya's Agriculture Ministry has ordered fertilizers to be sold at less than half the current market rate.
Meanwhile, 67 Kenyans have so far died of cholera this year. And according to the World Health Organisation, nearly 1,300 cases of the virulent water-bone diseases have been reported since January. More than half of the cases have been reported in western Nyanza province.
Officials of WHO and Kenyan Health Ministry have been combating the outbreak by supplying chlorine to treat water supplies, among others.
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