Of the millions of people at risk from East Africa’s drought, an NGO says children 5 years old and younger are the most vulnerable.
Victor Koyi, National Director of Childfund Kenya, said nearly 12-million people are now vulnerable to food insecurity. The organization has a presence in 7 provinces of Kenya, where he said 3.5 million people are affected by the drought.
“In our area of operation, we have about eight areas that are severely affected, said Koyi, “These areas include the lake region area, parts of Nairobi and Turkana, which is somewhat like the epicenter, which has the worst hit population.”
Childfund Kenya operates early childhood development centers.
“We have about 278 centers in all these regions. For the 0-5 age, we are supplying food supplement which is called Unimix. This is being served in all of the 278 centers,” he said.
A newly arrived Somali refugee child awaits medical examinations at the Dadaab camp, near the Kenya-Somalia border
The NGO works closely with the U.N. World Food Program.
“In Turkana, we are the lead agency providing food for work, assets. We are supplying food supplies such as cereal, maize and beans,” said Koyi.
But, he said responding to the magnitude of the food crisis will require more resources.
“Right now we need those resources like yesterday. The amounts of money that have been redirected from the normal programs to be able to service these people that are in dire need is insufficient. For the next six months in Kenya alone, for us to be able to respond effectively, we would need close to about $2.5 million,” said Koyi.
Koyi said approximately 1,300 Somali refugees continue to pour into Kenya daily, further complicating an already dire situation. He warned that the famine that is hitting parts of southern Somalia could very well spread into Kenya.