UN humanitarian chief urges international support for Kenyans in drought-hit areas

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The United Nations humanitarian chief today urged international support for the estimated 2.7 million people in parts of Kenya who urgently need food and water following the onset of a severe drought.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, saw the devastating impact of drought on rural communities in northern Kenya.

“Crops are failing, food prices are rising, and families are going hungry. The spectre of hunger and disease is haunting East Africa again. We need to put a stop to this,” Mr. O’Brien said.


The office he heads, OCHA, is working with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP), and other partners to save lives in the region, according to a press release.

“Our efforts should not only alleviate the current suffering brought about by this emergency, but should also aim to build the resilience of families and the capacity of local governments to deal with future droughts and other calamities,” the Representative of UNICEF in Kenya, Werner Schultink said.

UN efforts of support include dispatching 12,000 cartons of ready to use therapeutic foods for the severely-malnourished children, for example.

The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, recently declared the drought a national disaster and has called for international support.