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The United States through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing nearly $255 million in additional emergency food and other critical humanitarian and development assistance to the people of Kenya as a historically unprecedented drought pushes more than 4 million people to the edge of starvation. Communities in the Arid and Semi–Arid Land counties of Kenya are experiencing the worst effects of the drought, with farmers losing up to 70 percent of crops and at least 2.4 million livestock deaths reported in May – a significant source of food and income. More than 900,000 children are suffering from severe malnutrition and in urgent need of aid to survive. Many families have yet to fully recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and other climatic shocks before Russia’s war on Ukraine further exacerbated the hunger crisis with a rise in food, fuel and fertilizer prices. 

Today’s announcement includes nearly $235 million in additional humanitarian assistance that will allow USAID partners to meet urgent needs for more than 1.1 million people across Kenya. However, more funding will be needed to help prevent significant loss of life, and to meet expected humanitarian needs well into 2023. USAID is urging the international community to join in scaling up assistance to save lives. 

Today’s announcement includes funding for:

  • Emergency food to prevent extreme hunger –  USAID will provide emergency food, including sorghum – a more readily available grain than hard-to-import wheat – yellow split peas, and vegetable oil for families living in areas where local markets are not working well. Additionally, in areas where markets are functioning, cash for families to purchase food staples will also be provided, supporting the local economy. 
  • Nutrition aid to prevent and treat child malnutrition – USAID will supply a specialized peanut-based nutritional supplement to treat malnourished children at mobile clinics in remote areas, local health dispensaries, and at hospitals. Supercereal Plus, a corn-soya blend food supplement designed to make porridge, will also be provided to malnourished women and children for use at home.
  • Support for farmers to prevent crop and livestock losses – To keep livestock alive and healthy, USAID funding will support veterinary services, animal fodder, and supplements to keep essential breeding animals alive despite deteriorating conditions, thus aiding in the eventual rebuilding of family herds. Today’s funding will also support livestock destocking to reduce strain on overgrazed land, generating income for herders while making food resources available for communities facing starvation. This new assistance will provide farmers with seeds, tools, and training in drought-resistant farming methods, water conservation, and climate adaptation to increase crop productivity amid worsening drought conditions. 
  • Clean water to prevent disease outbreaks often prevalent during drought – As the risk for infectious disease increases when water sources are contaminated, USAID is providing water, sanitation, and hygiene support in drought-affected areas to include: supporting safe, potable water through water trucking, repaired water boreholes, community wells and distribution systems; materials to test and treat contaminated water; and technical support for community experts responsible for managing water and sanitation infrastructure.

Today’s funding also includes an additional $20 million in development assistance, subject to Congressional approval,  to work with Kenyan organizations and county governments on activities that help women diversify their income, expand access to fertilizer, support scaling agricultural inputs including drought-tolerant crops, reduce malnutrition threats in vulnerable communities, and invest in local agri-businesses with innovative technologies that help smallholder farmers reduce post-harvest loss and waste. 

The United States stands with the people of Kenya affected by this devastating crisis. In Fiscal Year 2022 alone, the United States has provided nearly $324 million in humanitarian assistance to the people of Kenya – the greatest share of all donor funding to date. But, it will not be enough. More funding will be needed to help prevent significant loss of life, and to meet expected humanitarian needs well into 2023. Kenya has experienced four consecutive poor rainy seasons and a fifth is forecast for later this year, further extending the suffering of millions of Kenyans who face the threat of starvation. 

A portion of today’s funding for Kenya is included in the additional Ukraine supplemental and is part of the $2.76 billion in USAID assistance announced by President Joe Biden on June 27, 2022. It is immediately being programmed in FY 2022 to address the most dire impacts of the global food security crisis through direct food assistance and related health, nutrition, protection, and water, sanitation, and hygiene services in countries with high levels of acute food insecurity, reliance on Russian and Ukrainian imports, and vulnerability to price shocks.

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