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US Intervenes to Assist Kenyans from Food Shortages

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US President Joe Biden’s Administration has offered to help mitigate the biting food shortage facing Kenya.

Through an established special trust in the US, Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT), collaborates with USAID to bolster existing food operations in the country. The intervention comes just months after the World Food Programme – WFP revealed that 3.1 million Kenyans are facing an acute food shortage.

According to US Embassy in Poland, Kenya has been listed alongside Ethiopia Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen which is set to benefit from the special trust that is allocating Ksh33 billion ($282 million) to the affected countries.

“USAID will use the BEHT’s Ksh33 billion ($282 million) to procure U.S. food commodities to bolster existing emergency food operations in six countries facing severe food insecurity: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen,” a statement from US Embassy in Poland read in part.

A statement from the Embassy has it, that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s actions have led to a food shortage by crippling agriculture by using food as a weapon of war, including through the destruction of agricultural storage, processing, and testing facilities; theft of grain and farm equipment; and the effective blockade of Black Sea ports.

President Joe Biden speaks about gas prices in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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“Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, combined with the impacts from the pandemic, increasing conflict, and high prices for fuel and fertilizer, have combined to devastate already fragile global food security and nutrition. Millions of people living far from the conflict face an increased risk of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition as a result of Putin’s war,” added the statement.

An announcement followed a meeting that President Biden attended alongside other G7 leaders where a resolution to disburse the money to save countries struggling with severe food shortages.

A report by the food and nutrition security assessment conducted in January 2022 further corroborated the findings by World Food Programme noted that over 600,000 children are acutely malnourished and in need of urgent treatment.

“About 100,000 pregnant and lactating women are acutely malnourished,” the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) said in a report.

As a way of supporting the affected families, the government has been giving out a stipend, especially to people in Arid and Semi-arid areas including Turkana, Baringo, and West Pokot

NDMA explained that the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) attributed the shortage to factors including December short rains, high staple food, low livestock prices, and insecurity

“Nutrition situation has deteriorated in most counties and is expected to further deteriorate during the projection period attributed to worsening food insecurity situation,” NDMA explained.

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