Turkana reels from severe drought

As worsening drought continue to ravage many parts of Northern Kenya, pastoralists in Turkana are selling their surviving livestock to buy increasingly expensive food.
IRIN reports that the Kenyan government has declared the current drought a national disaster and relief agencies are stepping in with emergency food aid, but this has done little to alleviate the suffering of families in the larger Turkana area.

Turkana women at a gathering Photo: Iris du Pon

"We have food aid programmes that target extremely vulnerable families but we can't cover everybody and many more still need the food aid but they aren't receiving it. Many will still die of hunger unless more food aid comes in," an aid worker, who requested anonymity, said.

Turkana has experienced malnutrition rates of up to 37.4 percent; the highest recorded in 20 years and more than double the UN World Health Organization (WHO) emergency threshold of 15 percent.

Aid workers say there has been an increase in admissions of severely malnourished people to stabilization centres, with children younger than five most affected.
"We have seen higher cases of severely wasted children aged under five," Theresa Fovo, Turkana field coordinator with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), told IRIN.


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