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Good rains critical to avoid “food stress”

A Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) update on Kenya’s food vulnerability following the failure of the short rains (October-December) says a favorable March-July long rains season is now critical to avert severe food stress in several provinces in the country. The current maize shortfall in Eastern, Central, Nyanza and Coast provinces, as well as in Tanzania, is expected to increase maize prices in major markets, the update predicts. Livestock conditions have also deteriorated, and some are being taken into southern Sudan and Uganda.

WFP’s Emergency Programme Officer Tom Ochieng told IRIN today that many water sources have dried up in the northeastern town of Mandera and food shortfalls are expected. “There is need for intervention ... The government also needs to shift its feeding base from the district centers to schools, to reach more of the vulnerable groups,” he added.

Meanwhile, OXFAM/UK has reported the welfare of an estimated 5,000 pastoralists in the northeast, displaced from their homesteads in November by an armed raid in the Bagalla area, remains of concern. “These pastoralists have become destitute following the loss of their sole source of food and income. They are now concentrated in four centers in western Wajir,” the report said. The population of “drop-out” pastoralists is also on the rise due to the destitution of another estimated 20,000 pastoralists who incurred serious small stock losses as a result of the El Nino rains.

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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