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Agencies seek $390m to offset climate and food risks

A woman sells potato’s in one of the city market in Nairobi, Kenya 2008.The price of the food has gone high.
(Julius Mwelu/IRIN)

The 2009 Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan (EHRP) for Kenya will target populations affected by internal displacement and climatic hazards as well as food and livelihood insecurity.

"A lot of progress has been made in addressing displacement but much remains to be done," said Aeneas Chuma, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator, at the launch of the appeal, which will fund essential support for an estimated 1.6 million people in 2009.

The 24 November appeal requested US$390 million and includes projects from more than 50 UN agencies and international and national NGOs.

In 2008, a total of $259.8 million was committed, representing about 70 percent of requested funding, said the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Kenya, Jeanine Cooper.

However, this masked critical gaps in the non-food sector and areas such as shelter, livelihood recovery, health and coordination, Cooper said.

The EHRP, which was launched in January in response to the post-election crisis and later revised in April to include early responses to drought, is a coordinated multi-sector approach to humanitarian assistance.

IDP challenges

Although most IDPs had returned to pre-displacement areas as of 28 September, about 54,000 people still remain in 121 transit sites near their farms. Another 4,211 are still in IDP camps; at the peak of the crisis about 350,000 were displaced. Shelter provision is still a huge challenge for returns.

"The challenges of displacement do not end with returns," Chuma said. "There is a need to consolidate peace and security, reconciliation and support recovery."

About 230,000 of those affected by the post-election crisis still rely on regular food rations, according to the secretary-general of the Kenya Red Cross Society, Abbas Gullet.

Weather adding to vulnerability

After a period of prolonged drought, Mandera, in the north-east, has had to grapple with flooding, inter-clan clashes over resources, and security threats along the border with Somalia - all of which have led to the displacement of thousands, livelihood losses and even deaths.

According to the Minister of Development of Northern Kenya, Ibrahim Elmi Mohamed, there is a need for flexible humanitarian planning to deal with unpredictable weather.

"In the north we were expecting drought then the rains came," Mohamed said. "Traditionally less vulnerable areas should also not be left out to avert disasters."

Diarrhoeal illnesses have afflicted some flood-affected areas, while others have experienced livestock diseases, affecting nutrition among the mainly pastoralist populations.

IDPs at Ngecha All Nations Gospel Church in Limuru.

Julius Mwelu/IRIN
IDPs at Ngecha All Nations Gospel Church in Limuru.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Late rains to worsen food security
IDPs at Ngecha All Nations Gospel Church in Limuru.

Photo: Julius Mwelu/IRIN
An IDP camp in Limuru in the outskirts of Nairobi (file photo): Despite the return of thousands of people to pre-displacement areas the challenges of displacement still remain, according to aid agencies

Findings from nutritional surveys in the districts of Mandera, Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu and Wajir showed average Global Acute Malnutrition rates ranging between 20 and 25 percent.

Food poverty is highest among pastoralists at 71 percent, according to the appeal.

At least 1.5 million people living in arid and semi-arid areas and three million urban poor need food aid, according to the Minister of State for Special Programmes, Naomi Shaaban.

An estimated 1.4 million people are receiving food assistance in the country. Some 1.2 million children rely on the school-feeding programme.

Food price blow

Rice prices have gone up 100 percent over the past four months, Shaaban said. A 2kg packet of maize flour is now retailing at about 120 shillings ($1.60), up from an average of 80 shillings (about $1) in October.

A large portion of the funding request - $172,752,615 - is for food aid. About 35 percent of the funding appeal is for early recovery. Other key sectors include refugee protection, water, sanitation and hygiene.

Kenya has recorded an increase in the number of Somali refugees, overstretching camp facilities and leading to "... potential health risks posed by overcrowding and insufficient water and sanitation facilities", according the EHRP.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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