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Kenyan Drought Leaves 1 Million People Needing Urgent Food Aid

Banana wholesalers stand waiting for customers at their stand on the Gikomba open-air market in Nairobi, Kenya, early morning 23 June 2017. Photo: EPA/DANIEL IRUNGU

More than a million people in a dozen Kenyan counties are in urgent need of food assistance after below-average rainfall curbed farm output, according to the East African nation’s drought-management agency.

Insufficient rains caused the number of people facing food insecurity to increase from 655,800 in August 2018, the National Drought Management Authority said in a statement on its website. The government has provided 1.35 billion shillings ($13.4 million) of the 1.72 billion shillings that’s required to partly provide food and water for people and livestock through April in 12 of Kenya’s 47 counties, according to the agency.

A drought in 2017 contributed to a slowdown in Kenyan growth to the weakest pace since 2011. The dry spell continued for three seasons, cutting production of corn, a staple food, and leading to shortages of other foods including milk.

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