Kenya: Nutrition Situation Deteriorating – 73000 Children at Risk of Dying

Berlin / Nairobi, 21. August 2017

Based on a SMART Survey, Johanniter and other NGOs have released on 21 August a press note about 73000 severley malnourished children at risk of dying in Kenya, unless urgent aid is made immediately available. The warning comes as results from joint nutrition assessments conducted by the County Departments of Health and UNICEF, and nine aid organisations working on the ground. The survey shows that in Turkana alone, severe acute malnutrition rates–the most life-threatening form of hunger–are up nearly four-fold in just one year, from 2.3% to 8.3%. In Turkana South, an unprecedented 12% of children under five now suffer from severe acute malnutrition.

The emergency treshold of the World Health Organization (WHO) for severe acute malnutrition is 2%. So in some regions of Turkana it's six time higher than the emergency threshold“, says Philippe Carrette, Country Director of Johanniter in Kenya.

73000 severe malnourished children are at risk of dying. Foto: Axel Fassio

Following last week’s election, the aid organisations are urgently calling on the national and local governments—who are leading on the drought response, in coordination with aid agencies—to prioritise critical funds and support for the response. This includes food programmes to reach the most vulnerable and prevent needless deaths. “The drought has left tens of thousands of children and families—including the most vulnerable under five, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers—in a dangerous situation,” said Francis Woods, Save the Children’s Interim Country Director in Kenya. “The election results must be used as an opportunity to reverse the tragedy unfolding in many parts of the country. We urge the new national and county governments to act now to prevent children from dying.”

Find the complete press release as PDF here.

Johanniter, who are working in Turkana since the drought in 2011, are already supporting 4000 persons with food, water and medical care. In reaction to the new SMART Survey, Johanniter will increase and adapt their programmes. „The distribution of Corn Soy Blend and food supplies for women and children will be important“, says Carette. Therefore, Johanniter starts in September a school feeding programme. The project will target 2907 pupils in six schools in Kakuma, Lopur and Songot wards of Turkana West as well as 200 street children for six months.

Philippe Carrette is available for press interviews. Please contact the communication department of Johanniter International Assistance:
Mrs Sandra Lorenz, Head of Communication
Tel.: +49 30 26997-356 / Mobil: +49 172 563 87 40, sandra.lorenz@johanniter.de

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