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Kenyan President Declares Famine a National Disaster
Courtesy of Catholic Information Service Africa (CISA)
CAPA 060105-3
January 5, 2006

[CAPA - Kenya] The government has declared the severe famine ravaging parts of the country a national disaster.
President Mwai Kibaki called on local and international donors to help the government deal with the crisis.

"In the next six months, up to 2.5 million of our people will be in need of famine relief. This represents close to 10 per cent of the country's population. To ensure that we have adequate interventions on the ground, I am declaring the famine a national disaster," the President said in his New Year speech to the nation.

He said the famine was a result of crop failure and depletion of livestock herds due to prolonged drought.

"Initial estimates have put the cost of providing food to the famine victims at about 11 billion shillings," he said.

"However, additional assistance will be required to address other problems arising from the famine. Some of these are: provision of water for people and animals, education, healthcare, restocking of livestock and provision of seeds to farmers in preparation for the next crop season."

Parts of North Eastern, Eastern, Rift Valley and Coast provinces are badly hit by food and water shortage. On Tuesday December 27, President Kibaki interrupted his Christmas holiday to tour Mandera and Wajir districts where famine-related deaths occurred.