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Kenya Announces $314M Plan To Tackle Drought, Food Shortages

The government of Kenya on Wednesday announced a $314 million plan to “tackle a drought which has hit food crop-growing regions, reduced hydro-electricity production and led to widespread water shortages,” Bloomberg reports. The country is experiencing a “serious water, food and energy crisis” and “[t]hirst combined with hunger is taking a heavy toll on the lives and health of our people,” Prime Minister Raila Odinga said. In 11 districts facing “imminent humanitarian disasters,” armed forces and police officers will be deployed “to deliver emergency rations of food, water and medicine for up to three months,” according to Odinga, Bloomberg writes. Odinga said Kenya’s corn production could fall 65 percent below consumption this year, which would put 10 million Kenyans at risk of hunger or food insecurity (McGregor, 8/12).

In rural areas, about 7.5 million people were in need of food aid and about 3.5 million people in urban areas need food aid, Odinga said, the Daily Nation reports (8/12).

According to VOA News, although the government has announced plans “to address the country’s growing food crisis … critics say the government’s actions are too little, too late.” The news service writes, “It has been reported that Kenya President Mwai Kibaki was briefed for the first time on the total severity of the food and water crises just last month. Humanitarian organizations have been raising the alarm that millions of Kenyans could be facing possible starvation since the beginning of the year.” The article examines the droughts effect on the country and includes comments from government officials and analysts (Boswell, 8/13).