US pledges additional KES 16 billion food assistance to Kenya’s drought crisis
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has pledged $126 million (KES 16 billion) in additional food assistance to Kenya to address the dire hunger crisis caused by the ongoing drought.
The announcement was made after First Lady Jill Biden’s visit to the country.
The drought has left over four million people in the country in urgent need of food, with the number expected to rise to over five million by June. Communities in arid and semi-arid land counties are the worst affected, with scarce resources such as water, food, and pasture driving intercommunal tensions and violence.
The food assistance from USAID will help partners meet the urgent needs of approximately 1.3 million people across the country. The assistance will include emergency food items such as sorghum, maize, yellow split peas, and vegetable oil for families living in areas where local markets are not functioning. Cash-based assistance will also be provided for families to purchase food staples in areas where markets are functioning.
In addition to food assistance, programs to prevent and treat child malnutrition will also be supported, as over 970,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished across the country.
In its statement, USAID said, ” Given the magnitude of the current crisis, however, more funding will be required to meet expected humanitarian needs through 2023. USAID has acted early and aggressively in responding to the drought in Kenya, providing nearly $310 million in humanitarian assistance in Fiscal Year 2022 alone – the greatest share of all donor funding to date.”
They added, “Yet, the drought response across the Horn of Africa remains underfunded by the broader international community, and needs only continue to grow.”