FUNDING SHORTAGE MAY FORCE UN AGENCY TO REDUCE FOOD AID TO KENYANS (UNNews / WFP)

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FUNDING SHORTAGE MAY FORCE UN AGENCY TO REDUCE FOOD AID TO KENYANS

New York, Sep 18 2009 11:05AM

The United Nations World Food Programme (<“http://www.wfp.org/”>WFP) said today that a shortage of donations will soon force it to reduce monthly rations to millions of Kenyans in need of urgent assistance due to a combination of drought and high food prices.

“The funding shortfall is so severe that we will have to start reducing the size of rations early next month – the hardship people are facing is going from bad to worse,” WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said in a statement.

WFP is currently distributing 2.6 million drought-affected Kenyans with food aid and hopes to increase that number by 1.2 million.

In parts of central Kenya, 50 per cent of shallow wells, boreholes and other water sources have dried up, and people walk up to 30 kilometres in search of water, according to the agency.

“Drought has left farmers with empty fields and the carcasses of dead cattle litter the land in some of the worst affected areas,” said Ms. Sheeran.

“Malnutrition rates are rising beyond emergency levels. And staple food prices – 100 per cent above normal – are beyond the reach of the hungriest people who are trying to feed their families.”

The agency said it has only received 8 per cent – $24 million – of the $301 million needed to feed 3.8 million people over the next six months.

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For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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