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UN World Food Program Appeals for Help in Kenya

The UN World Food Program (WFP) says it’s quickly running out of emergency food aid for millions of people in Kenya affected by drought. As the dry season continues, the WFP is appealing to donors for new contributions to prevent malnutrition from increasing.

Penny Ferguson is the spokesperson for the WFP in Nairobi. She told VOA English to Africa reporter Cole Mallard that people in Kenya are still recovering from the long drought.

Although long rains have come, which has helped some, it’s the beginning of the dry season. She says the WFP has only enough food assistance to feed people through September. She says the WFP appealed for $225 million in February to feed people through the rest of 2006, and still needs $90 million, despite generous contributions from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the government of Kenya itself.

Ferguson says in March and April, The WFP had to cut vegetable oil from the rations of 3 million people, illustrating that one item, routine in nature, can cause severe hardship. She says it’s hard to predict what may come as a result of the appeal, but she hopes that keeping the public informed will help, “given the time it can take to buy commodities in bulk and get them transported up into some of these very remote areas in Kenya, short notice can just be too late.”

She says if the money doesn’t come, the WFP will continue to do the best it can in this emergency operation to feed 3.6 million people, covering 25 of Kenya’s 70 districts. She says, “3.1 million people receive monthly rations and more than half a million school children are given school meals through this same emergency operation, in addition to the regular school meals program that feeds million children in Kenya, so it’s a very big operation.”

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