Drought taking toll on Kenyans, U.N. says
Lack of rain has ruined corn crops; 1.3 million not getting food aid
The Associated Press, Aug 19, 2009
KARIUNGA, Kenya - More than 1 million Kenyans affected by a prolonged drought are not getting the food aid they desperately need, the U.N.'s World Food Program said Tuesday.
The agency already is providing emergency food aid to some 2.5 million people in this East African nation, but another 1.3 million still need help, said Gabrielle Menezes, a spokeswoman for WFP.
"What we have here is an extremely difficult situation and people are saying it is the worst drought since 2000," Menezes said from a region some 120 miles north of the capital, Nairobi, where WFP was distributing food.
She appealed to donors come forward to help alleviate the situation.
The areas hardest hit by the drought are the semiarid southeastern regions and parts of central Kenya.
Those areas generally have only one harvest a year of corn Kenya's staple usually after autumn rainfall called the short rains. But the rains have largely failed this year.
Esther Kiplimo, 38, says she has given up farming her 1-acre plot of land because of the failed rains. Now she breaks rocks in a quarry with her family, earning less than $1 a day.
"On some days we have to sleep hungry," she said.
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