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Immediate Aid Needed For Drought-Stricken Children

Immediate Aid Needed For Drought-Stricken Children In Kenya, Unicef Says New York,

Apr 22 2005

Nearly $3 million are needed at once to ease the impact of drought on children in Kenya, with 30,000 malnourished youngsters requiring urgent nutrition, 450,000 doses of measles and polio vaccination coming due, and 200,000 people lacking safe drinking water, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today.

The funding would also keep 3,500 children in schools who will otherwise have to drop-out due to drought stress.

UNICEF cited a recent assessment led by the Kenya Food Security Group, which indicates that while the 2004-2005 short rains has improved food security in many areas, a substantial number of people are still highly vulnerable and continued support is needed to protect livelihoods and reduce continued levels of high malnutrition amongst children.

The Government of Kenya and the UN World Food Programme (WFP have extended their emergency operations to now cater for 1.64 million beneficiaries, down from the 2.3 million in August 2004. Prospects for improved food security now hinge on favourable long rains between March and August this year.

Meanwhile the tiny Horn of Africa country of Djibouti is currently facing worsening drought conditions due to two consecutive failed rainy seasons, with the food security and livelihoods of nearly 30,000 people severely compromised by limited water and pasture, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported.

Significant over-grazing of pasture and the depletion of water sources have contributed to widespread livestock deaths and a considerable decline in milk productivity, it said. The remaining animals are in bad conditions due mainly to opportunistic parasites and diseases.

ENDS

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