DEVELOPMENT REPORT - Kenya Malnutrition

By Caty Weaver

This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

Several United Nations agencies are taking action to ease the problems created by a severe lack of food and water in Kenya. There was not enough rain this year. This led to widespread crop failures and loss of farm animals. This is the third time Kenya has had this problem in the past ten years. Also, floods in Nineteen-Ninety-Seven and Nineteen-Ninety-Eight destroyed many crops in the country.

The United Nations Children's Fund says there -has been a sudden sharp rise in the rate of malnutrition in Kenya. A recent UNICEF study says more than one-million-seven-hundred-thousand children under the age of five are in serious need of food. UNICEF official Lynn Geldof says these children have a good chance of recovering if they receive additional food quickly.

Mizz Geldof says children in eleven of the nineteen worst affected areas are receiving the extra food. She says the recent study will help UNICEF provide food for the children who need it the most.

Mizz Geldof says the agency also is working to ease water shortages in Kenya. She says UNICEF is providing forty water pumps and repairing or creating fifty water supply places in dry areas. Aid workers also are teaching community teams how to keep the pumps operating.

This month, UNICEF also is giving vaccine medicines to the one-million-seven-hundred-thousand most underfed children in Kenya. The drugs will help prevent the diseases polio and measles. The UN agency also says it will give the children vitamin A pills. This will prevent blindness and improve the children's natural defense systems.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization also has expressed concern about Kenya. Two weeks ago it reported deaths linked to starvation there. The UN World Food Program currently is giving about nine kilograms of corn to needy families each month. However, this food usually is eaten in less than a week.

The United Nations has appealed to member countries for almost ninety-million dollars to feed more than three-million people in Kenya. The United States recently agreed to provide about one-third of the needed financial aid.

This VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT was written by Caty Weaver. This is Steve Ember.

Voice of America Special English