- The UN food agency has appealed for US$244 million to double its food assistance in Kenya to feed more than 3.5 million people hit by persistent drought and soaring food prices.
World Food programme also said falling remittances from abroad, due to the global financial crunch have compounded the crisis in Kenya, leaving many families struggling to put a decent meal on the table.
WFP Kenya country director Burkard Oberle, said million of Kenyans are already feeling the hitch of the crisis, saying the global economic meltdown also spells problems for the East Africa state.
The Kenyan government declared food shortages a national disaster in January following the failure of rains in the south-eastern and coastal areas, the country’s main agricultural hub.
WFP said in response to the current crisis, it will increase the numbers of people in Kenya receiving general food distributions from 1.2 million people to 2.5 million in the period until February 2010, also saying it will also provide 1.5 million children with school meals as an incentive to keep them in education.
High food prices have exacerbated the crisis caused by the drought and reduced people’s ability to buy food. Maize prices have increased by up to 130 percent in some parts of the country since last year.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki blamed the drought, steep inflation, ongoing global financial crunch and the recent post poll violence, that disrupted the planting season, for the ongoing food crisis. He also launched an appeal for $400 million in foreign food aid to see off the crisis.
Post election violence broke out in Kenya after current Prime Minister Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement accused President Kibaki's party of vote rigging in the 2007 presidential elections.
It is estimated that the post poll violence killed some 1,500 people and displaced 300,000 others in the country. It was finally was halted by a UN-brokered power-sharing deal, according to which Kibaki remained the Kenyan President while Mr Odinga was appointed the country's Prime Minister.
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