International aid agencies warn of a looming hunger crisis in east Africa due to a combination of poor harvests, prolonged drought, conflict and the high cost of food.
At the end of August the World Food Programme, the food-aid arm of the United Nations, was already feeding over 17 million people in the region and the numbers are expected to rise over the coming months.
In Kenya an estimated 3.8 million people are at risk of hunger and loss of livelihood as crops fail and livestock are decimated by the drought particularly in the north, north-east and south-east. In neighbouring Ethiopia 6.2 million people are in need of emergency relief aid. Elsewhere in the region the situation is no better. In Somalia one third of the population of ten million are facing starvation in a situation that is exacerbated by prolonged civil unrest. In Tanzania the situation in the northern regions is cause for alarm. In Uganda too over one million people are already receiving food aid due to drought particularly in the northern and eastern parts of the country.