News / Africa

    Humanitarian Groups Call for Investment, Infrastructure to Prevent Famine in Kenya

    A Turkana woman carries her child at a peace meeting in the Lobei Kraal village of Turkana district in North-western Kenya (file photo)
    A Turkana woman carries her child at a peace meeting in the Lobei Kraal village of Turkana district in North-western Kenya (file photo)

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Michael Onyiego

    As drought continues in Kenya's arid north, a coalition of humanitarian groups is urging the east African nation to combat future shortages through infrastructure development and economic reform.

    It has been months since parts of northern Kenya have seen any rainfall. Though the region is accustomed to sparse conditions, alarm is beginning to set in as humanitarian organizations brace for an impending crisis. Kenya's grain reserves are running low and no rain is expected until at least April.

    The lack of water and available pasture has put millions of livestock at risk, straining the resources of the pastoralist communities that rely on them for survival. The Kenyan Red Cross has launched an appeal for more than $22 million in aid to help nearly 2 million Kenyans threatened by the drought.

    But on Tuesday, a coalition of humanitarian and development organizations questioned the necessity of famine and crisis during periods of little rain. Minister for Development of Northern Kenya Mohamed Elmi called Kenya's response to the current drought "unacceptable."

    "Drought is a regular and predictable event," said Elmi.  "With carefully planned interventions early enough in the dry cycle, well before any signs of crisis are apparent, we know that the worst impacts of drought are entirely preventable.

    Despite its status as one of Africa's leading agricultural nations, Kenya is no stranger to drought. A massive dry spell from 2007 through 2009 led to a spike in food prices and threatened the country's growing economy.

    But according to the Regional Learning and Advocacy Program for Dryland Communities (REGLAP) the perennial threat of famine in Kenya's north is due more to historic neglect than the region's difficult conditions.

    Residents of Kenya's northern provinces are some of the country's poorest. According to REGLAP, less than 10 percent of residents in Kenya's Northeastern Province have access to safe drinking water, compared with 56 percent countrywide. Roads connecting the region with more populous areas are few and far between and many are simply dirt paths through desert.

    There is also chronic underinvestment in the region's resources. Despite containing nearly 75 percent of Kenya's livestock, the country's arid regions employ less than 10 percent of the industry's workers. The government allocates about one percent of its budget to the industry annually.

    REGLAP, which consists of groups such as Oxfam, Save the Children and CARE, believes that by addressing such extreme underdevelopment and underinvestment, the Kenyan government can provide resources for pastoralist communities to ride out the drought.

    Meanwhile, Minister Mohamed Elmi has proposed new institutions to combat famine in its early stages and prevent serious crises. The Minister has proposed the creation of a national drought authority and fund in order to respond to drought situations without the delay of parliamentary approval.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora