Kenya says needs $229m for drought mitigation

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Kenya requires 33.29 billion shillings (about $229m) for drought mitigation in arid areas, where some 2.8 million people are still facing hunger, the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) said on Thursday.

   The NDMA said in an assessment report that the cash is needed for food relief assistance, provision of water, El Nino preparedness, wildlife conservation to curb conflict between animals and humans, peacebuilding, and drought recovery support, among others.

   While the number of people in need of food assistance declined to 2.8 million in August from 4.4 million in February, the NDMA said some of the 23 affected arid counties “still have a significant population of people in dire need, who require urgent humanitarian assistance and may remain so even in the projected period.”

   “This is a result of slow recovery across most livelihoods from the cumulative effects of the previous consecutive failed rain seasons,” the agency said.

   It observed that the levels of acute malnutrition remain elevated in the arid counties, though there is gradual improvement.

   Some 945,610 children aged six months to 59 months as well as 144,940 pregnant and lactating women are still exposed to malnutrition, a decline from 970,214 and 142,179 reported in February, respectively.

   “It is crucial that more funding is available to support sectoral interventions toward recovery and the anticipated effects of El-Nino rains according to the latest forecast,” NDMA said.

   Kenya, alongside Somalia, Tanzania and Ethiopia, is set to experience El Nino rains from October to December that would result in flooding, with the heavy rainfall coming a few months after the worst drought in the region.

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