United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya Siddharth Chatterjee speaks during a press briefing in Nairobi, Kenya, on March 16, 2017. The United Nations in Kenya on Thursday launched a 166 million-U.S. dollars urgent appeal to address the country's biting drought that has affected an estimated 2.7 million people. Failed rains in the last two seasons are to blame for severe drought in 23 Kenyan counties. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)
NAIROBI, March 16 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations in Kenya on Thursday launched a 166 million-U.S. dollars urgent appeal to address the country's biting drought that has affected an estimated 2.7 million people.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya Siddharth Chatterjee told a media briefing in Nairobi that the primary purpose of the appeal is to ensure that no Kenyan dies as a result of food or water scarcity.
"The appeal will also help to complement government efforts that started last year to deal with the drought," Chatterjee said.
Failed rains in the last two seasons are to blame for severe drought in 23 Kenyan counties.
The funds raised from the appeal will be used by humanitarian actors to provide life-saving food, health, water and sanitation services to vulnerable people over the next ten months.
Chatterjee said the appeal was necessary as the drought has increased in severity over the past several months.
"In Novemver in 2016, 1.3 million people were affected by the drought but the figure has since increased to 2.7 million people in the Arid and Semi Arid areas (ASAL)," he said.
According to the UN official, the drought has resulted in malnutrition rates in the affected areas going up and has also led to a large number of children dropping out of school due to lack of access to food and water.
On Feb. 10, Kenya declared the drought a national disaster in order to galvanize national and international support to deal with the drought.
Chatterjee said that the UN system will assist Kenya to make a quick recovery from the current drought and also ensure that the East African nation does not experience a similar situation in the future.