May 25, 2000

 

 

23 Million Kenyans Face Hunger

The Associated Press, May 25, 2000  Filed at 10:59 a.m. EDT

 

          NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Kenya's president appealed to the United

          States and the European Union for food aid, saying 23 million Kenyans

          face hunger due to the lack of seasonal rain, newspapers reported

          Thursday.

 

          Daniel arap Moi announced the appeal Wednesday in a rally at his rural

          home near the farming town of Nakuru, 90 miles northwest of the

          Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

 

          He did not say when he made the request or how the government

          reached the population figure, which equals almost 80 percent of Kenya's

          29 million people.

 

          The long rains usually come from March to May, the country's main

          planting season. But despite overcast skies, there has been little rainfall.

 

          The U.N. World Food Program plans to appeal for food for about 2.3

          to 2.7 million Kenyans this year, Brenda Barton, an agency

          spokeswoman said Thursday.

 

          ``Right now we are working on figures of the needy people in the whole

          of the Horn of Africa before making the appeal,'' Barton said.

 

          The USAID Famine Early Warning System in Nairobi estimates this year

          in Kenya there will be a shortage of 2.2 million bags of maize, a staple for

          Kenyans. The government's estimate is 3 million bags. A bag is 198

          pounds.

 

          Kenya is suffering from a three-year drought that is threatening 16 million

          people in the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and

          Somalia.

 

          The drought has also played havoc with Nairobi's supply of hydroelectric

          power and drinking water, both of which will be rationed.