Is Kenya on the brink of a widespread hunger catastrophe?
Published Wednesday, April 12, 2017 10:00PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 13, 2017 6:11AM EDT
For Jennifer Asiago, life in Kibera has never been easy.
As Kenya’s largest slum, Kibera is a cramped and crowded place. There is no running water. Garbage is strewn everywhere and sewage spills into the streets.
Asiago, a single mother, shares a one-room shack with her children, and has less than a dollar a day to feed them. The money isn’t going as far as it used to.
Asiago used to buy one kilogram of corn, a vital dietary staple, for about 23 cents. It now costs her more than 60 cents. Asiago says she can’t afford food due to the drought.
The drought is intense and sweeping across East Africa.
Twenty million people across four countries are facing starvation and are in desperate need of help. Famine has already been declared in South Sudan and Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia are said to be on the brink.
Large parts of Kenya are impacted and it’s not just in rural areas. Food prices in the country are soaring due to crop failure and a lack of water.
Out of Kenya’s 47 counties, 23 have been deemed to be facing disastrous drought. Kenya Red Cross estimated about 2.7 million people are in need of food aid.
At a school in Kibera, students play before lunch. The meal is a serving of beans which is free, but is often all they will eat in a day. Staff would like to provide more food, but they can’t afford it.
“Because of changes in the economy, we are not in a position to change the food,” said Mathew Kiptun, a teacher at the school.
In Kibera, hunger in children has always been a concern. But with more people struggling to buy food, humanitarian groups are now expanding malnutrition monitoring.
At a health clinic run by Doctors Without Borders, parents of malnourished children are given high-protein rations to help their little ones gain weight.
“Being in an area where there is a lot of poverty, it is not uncommon to find children not having enough diversified food or not enough food in general,” said Jeroen Matthys, of Doctors Without Borders.
The Kenyan government recently declared drought a national disaster. Like other places struggling with food and water shortage, officials are calling for more help.
And while many western countries, including Canada, are delivering funds, humanitarian groups say much more is needed to avoid a widespread hunger catastrophe.
With a report by CTV's Melanie Nagy in Kenya