Staff members check the train with relief food in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, June 21, 2017. China on Wednesday officially handed over the first batch of 100,000 bags of relief food to Kenya for distribution to hunger-stricken citizens. (Xinhua/Li Baishun)
NAIROBI, June 21 (Xinhua) -- China on Wednesday officially handed over the first batch of 100,000 bags of relief food to Kenya for distribution to hunger-stricken citizens.
Speaking during the handover ceremony in Nairobi, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa said the consignment of rice is part of the 450,000 bags that Beijing pledged as food aid.
"China has been sympathetic to the food shortage situation in Kenya that was occasioned by weather situation which has not been promising agriculturally. The Chinese people have always stood side by side with Kenyans and will always come to their aid when the need arises," Liu said.
The delivery is part of the 21,366 metric tonnes of food aid worth 22.5 million U.S. dollars that will be distributed to suffering Kenyans throughout the country.
The remaining batches of the food will arrive within the month of June, mid-July and the last batch will be delivered in August.
Josepheta Oyiela Mukobe, the Principal Secretary for the State Department of Special Programs, hailed the Chinese people for coming to the aid of the suffering Kenyans at a time when the drought is affecting a big number of the population.
"I am delighted to be here today to witness the handing over of humanitarian relief food from China to the Kenyan government. We are indeed humbled by the much consideration and good neighborliness that the Chinese have shown towards our people," Mukobe said.
"The distribution will commence immediately, and as you can see, our trucks are already waiting. We will not even take the food to our stores, but will embark on distribution without delay because hunger does not wait for anybody," she remarked.
The PS said the consequences of the drought will continue to be felt for a long time, adding that for that reason, there is an urgent need for relief food assistance to 3.5 million people who are affected by the situation in the arid and semi-arid areas.
The drought has wiped out livestock feeds and affected milk production, triggered rise in price of basic food stuff, and impacted negatively on the sources of water, crop production and education.