Over the last 30 days, the number of Kenyans facing starvation has doubled to more than 3 million, the Red Cross said on Tuesday, as the devastating drought worsens. Kenya is one of several East African countries ravaged by drought with Somalia on the brink of famine. The drought is impacting 23 countries with the situation predicted to worsen in the coming months in what the UN has called the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.
Like many of its neighbors, Kenya is suffering the effects of two failed rainy seasons in a row, hugely reducing crop harvests. Food prices have soared, pushing inflation to a five-year high of nine percent in February.
“The situation is getting worse every day. Malnutrition rates among children are steadily climbing. Children are getting sick, and livelihoods of families have been decimated following the loss of thousands of their livestock,” Dr Abbas Gullet, secretary-general of the Kenya Red Cross Society, said in a statement.
The number of Kenyans going hungry could increase to four million in the coming weeks, the statement said.
More than 340,000 children under the age of five are also acutely malnourished.