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Wednesday, 12 July, 2000, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Kenyans starving, says UN
famine victims in Ethiopia
Poor rains have left people hungry across the region
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says that a number of Kenyans are dying of hunger because of poor harvests .

In a report out this week, the FAO says that "starvation-related deaths, particularly among children are being reported".



Starvation-related deaths, particularly among children are being reported

FAO report

The long rains season, which normally runs from March to May, has failed in much of the country - the fourth successive rainy season to do so.

The FAO says that as a result, Kenya will need to import large quantities of maize, the national staple.

Pastoralists

The FAO said that most of the country, including the "bread basket" Rift Valley Province and Central Province which is normally close to self-sufficiency in food, have received little or no rainfall.

This has led to widespread crop failures as well as large livestock losses - a situation that the FAO said was particularly serious for pastoralists.

dead cow
Livestock are dying in large numbers
Maize is the main staple food of Kenya, but existing stocks are estimated to be depleted at all levels throughout the country.

The FAO noted that the prices of maize was very high and continued to rise, leaving many poor people hungry.

It concluded that, to get by until the next main harvest in September 2001, Kenya will need to import 1.4m tonnes of maize, more than a third of its annual requirement.

Ethiopia and Eritrea

In neighbouring Ethiopia and Eritrea, problems caused by the regional drought have been exacerbated by the war between the two countries.

A United Nations relief coordinator, Caroline MaCaskie, who is on a fact-finding tour of the region, said that Ethiopia needed more medicine, as well as assistance for developing its water capability.

She told the BBC that in Eritrea, the task was getting assistance to the people affected by the war and drought -- about half the population, she said.

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See also:

31 Mar 00 | Africa
UN warns of new Horn famine
17 Apr 00 | Africa
Famine threat across the Horn
11 Apr 00 | Africa
UN envoy visits drought region
12 Jul 00 | Africa
Half of Eritrea needs aid
31 Mar 00 | Africa
Is aid really helping?
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