Once Immune, Kenya Hit Hard By Drought
Kenya, a developed country with lush land and a typically robust economy, is being devastated by a deadly drought, the New York Times reports.
(AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
With green pastures drying up, the drought is killing crops and children. It is stoking tensions in water-deprived slums and spawning ethnic conflict in communities fighting over the few remaining areas of fertile land, the newspaper reports.
Two staples of the country's economy – agriculture and tourism – have been hit especially hard, according to the newspaper.
Game animals that draw safari enthusiasts are ravaged by hunger while farm livestock are dying of thirst.
(AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
Despite warnings from the international aid community, the Kenyan government apparently ignored the red flags, in part because they are dealing with political infighting in the wake of a disputed election in 2007 that set off a wave of violence.
Some government officials have also been accused of illegally selling off thousands of tons of the nation's grain reserves as a famine was looming.
The United Nations World Food Program recently said that nearly four million Kenyans — or 10 percent of the population — urgently needed food.
"Red lights are flashing across the country," the agency said.
But donor nations have been slow to respond, and a United Nations-led emergency appeal for $576 million is less than half financed, the newspaper reports.
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