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Humanitarian Watch

UN issues fresh aid appeal to help starving Kenyans

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The United Nations issued a fresh appeal for $106 million (Sh10 billion) to help for Kenyans threatened with starvation.

Nearly 370,000 children in parts of the country hardest hit by drought now require urgent treatment for acute malnutrition, the UN humanitarian agency said Thursday.

“In the worst-affected counties, like Turkana South, the acute malnutrition rate is as high as 37 per cent, more than twice the emergency threshold of 15 per cent,” the agency warned.

The UN estimated 5.6 million Kenyans are currently in need of humanitarian aid.

RESPONSE PLAN

International donors may however not respond adequately to the new appeal.

Only $71 million was raised in response to a UN plea in March for $166 million in aid for Kenya.

The 43 per cent response rate may reflect the lower priority assigned to Kenya at a time when UN agencies and NGOs are focused on four famine-threatened countries; Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen.

The new appeal for Kenya, intended to help meet urgent needs to the end of this year, complements the government’s own response plan, the UN said.

Since its declaration of drought in February, the government has allocated $124 million in aid to afflicted areas.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

“The government of Kenya is doing its part, with its resources stretched to breaking point. So should we,” said Nairobi-based UN country coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee.

However, a government pledge of an additional $132 million for the final four months of this year is unlikely to be fulfilled in the coming weeks due to what the UN describes as “political developments.”

That assessment is based on the view that Kenyan elected officials will be preoccupied with the repeat presidential election scheduled for October 17.

The UN suggested that poor rainfall in recent years are not the only cause of the food crisis gripping northern counties in Kenya.

“The areas of Kenya that are experiencing the worst effects of drought also face entrenched poverty, limited investment and intermittent conflict which have further compounded food insecurity and malnutrition,” the UN observed in a background document issued along with the new appeal.

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Humanitarian Watch

More Than 130 Somali Refugees Repatriated from Yemen

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GENEVA — In a joint operation funded by the United States, the U.N. migration and refugee agencies have repatriated 134 Somali refugees from war-torn Yemen.

A refugee boat carrying 73 men and women and 61 children left the Yemeni port of Aden on Monday and is to arrive Tuesday at the Somali port of Berbera. It is the third voluntary return of Somalis organized by the International Organization for Migration and U.N. refugee agency since September.

IOM spokesman Joel Millman said some previous efforts had to be suspended in the past few years because of the risks involved in organizing an operation such as this in a war-torn country.

“Despite security difficulties there and the fact of divided authorities, we were still able to get into an area around Aden that has not always been accessible to humanitarian aid groups and manage this transport,” he said.

The U.N. migration agency reports the Somalis came to Yemen in search of a better life, but got caught up in the conflict and often were subjected to abuse by smugglers. The IOM began organizing the voluntary returns in November 2016. Since then, the agency has helped 1,845 Somalis return home.

Millman told VOA Somali refugees receive a reintegration package to help them restart their lives when they arrive home. He said they often receive a grant of $1,100 so they can start a business, buy a cow, or invest in some other form of livelihood. That acts as a big inducement for refugees to voluntarily return, he noted.

“It is a strong sweetener because the stigma of going abroad and failing is so great that we find this is a very effective way of lubricating I guess is the best word, this process,” he said.

Millman said the cash grant ends up being less expensive for the donor than the cost of keeping a refugee or migrant in detention in Europe. He noted that the repatriation project is funded by a $4.4 million donation from the United States.

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Humanitarian Watch

Somalia faces yet another famine

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Somalia is facing its second major famine in six years.

Under the shadow of that threat, one aid group is making a difference for the many Somalis who have lost loved ones and their homes.

When it struck in 2011, the Turkish Red Crescent was among the first international aid groups to help. And it hasn’t left Somalia since.

TRT World’s Editor-at-Large Ahmed al Burai, has more.

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Humanitarian Watch

9 dead, more at a risk as drought ravages Somalia

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A severe drought has claimed the lives of at least nine people in Somalia’s Galkayo District, media reported.

The state broadcaster, Mogadishu Radio, quoted Galkayo Mayor Hersi Yusuf Bare giving the statistics while warning that the situation could get worse.

“The destitute people I met at Harhaar pastoral land are deeply susceptible to the effects of the famine generated by the severe drought,” said Mr Bare.

“So far, nine people have died in the areas visited, a sign that many more were vulnerable,” he added.

The mayor said the severe weather conditions had displaced thousands from Galkayo, which lies some 750km north of the capital Mogadishu.

He stressed that many nomadic people had been forced to migrate as the drought continued to decimate most of their livestock.

The generally insufficient rains in the southern and central Somalia have severely diminished the local food supplies.

UN agency OCHA on August 31 stated that malnutrition had reached emergency levels in a number of locations in southern and central Somalia.

“Malnutrition, one of the leading indicators of the crisis, has reached emergency levels in a number of locations in southern and central Somalia, primarily, though not exclusively among displaced populations,” OCHA was quoted saying in ReliefWeb .

“Overall, some 388,000 acutely malnourished children are in need of critical nutrition support, including life-saving treatment for more than 87,000 severely malnourished children.”

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