Mutai NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Climate change effects are
to blame for the increasing acute undernourishment of children
in Kenya, the United Nations said in a report released in
Nairobi on Friday.
According to the UN, the failure of
the March-June long rains, the third consecutive poor rains
since early 2016 has contributed an additional 37,000 children
across the country below the threshold of acute malnutrition.
“Climate-related issues have increased
food insecurity in parts of northern Kenya where
malnutrition rates have doubled in recent months,” the UN
The report noted that the country’s
undernourishment affected 8.8 million people, accounting for
19.1 percent of the population.
It states that almost 370,000 children
across the country now require treatment for acute malnutrition,
including 72,600 who are suffering from the most severe form and
requires specialized life-saving care.
“In four out of 17 surveys conducted
in June and July, acute malnutrition rates were at least
double the emergency threshold of 15 percent,” the report
The failure of the March-June long
rains, following two extremely poor rains in 2016, have led to
widespread crop failure, acute water shortages, and declining
production of milk in years, which pastoral children rely on for
The report further blames drought
related migration, early child marriages and child labor to lack
of food and water.
“Several schools have closed while
others are overcrowded because of migrating children or
children who come in search of school-feeding,” it says.
Following the development in the
country, the UN children’s fund (UNICEF) has urged for efforts
to help fund its drought response.
“We need to make nutritious food, safe
water and basic health care far more accessible to
vulnerable children and families so that malnourished
children can recover, and so that those at risk do not fall
sick,” UNICEF’s Representative in Kenya Werner Schultink
Schultink revealed that the UN agency
has reached 60 percent more children with life-saving assistance
in the first half of 2017 compared to 2016, yet more and more
children are becoming malnourished.
UNICEF is repairing water points in
the country to help avail water to additional nine million
children who lack access to safe water.
According to the report, Turkana
Central, Turkana North and North Horr in Marsabit in
northwestern Kenya registered acute malnutrition rates between
30 and 37 per cent.
Across the country, 1.6 million
children are now food insecure, up from 1.2 million in February
and 600,000 in August 2016.
Poor feeding practices, disease
outbreaks and limited access to health services in the country
are being exacerbated by a nationwide nurses’ strike, now in its
The State of Food Security and
Nutrition in the World 2017 was jointly prepared by UNICEF, the
Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for
Agricultural Development, World Food Program and the World