The United Nations and its humanitarian partners on Thursday appealed for 166 million U.S. dollars to aid Kenyan pastoralists and farmers whose livestock and crops are suffering amid what the Kenyan government declared a “national drought disaster,” a UN spokesman told reporters here.

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“Today in Nairobi, the UN family along with the government of Kenya launched a Flash Appeal of 166 million U.S. dollars to address the devastating consequences of drought on pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in the North of the African country, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.

Below average rainfall in 2016 has caused severe dryness in the country’s arid and semi-arid counties, doubling the number of severely food insecure Kenyans to 2.6 million, he said.

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“The Flash Appeal complements the government’s ongoing nine-month response plan,” Dujarric said.

“With these funds, humanitarian actors will provide life-saving food, health, water and sanitation services to 2.6 million vulnerable Kenyans over the next ten months,” said Siddharth Chatterjee, UN resident coordinator in Kenya.

Half of the country is affected by the drought brought on by a third consecutive year of unreliable rains.

Below average rains are “causing thirst and hunger, decimating livestock, destroying livelihoods, spreading disease, and causing large movements of people,” according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The latest flash appeal is a complement to Kenya’s ongoing nine-month response plan which faces a funding gap of 108 million U.S. dollars, OCHA said.

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Earlier this month, Stephen O’Brien, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and the head of OCHA, visited Kenya to highlight the risk of famine facing people there, as well as in Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

Reporting his observations to the UN Security Council upon his return, O’Brien, who is also the UN emergency relief coordinator, said the international community is “facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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