The World Bank has announced it will inject up to $1.6 billion (Sh160 billion) to mitigate effects of famine in Kenya and four Sub-Saharan countries.
A statement from World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said the assistance will ensure that the hardest hit population in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria access water and food.
Part of the funding will also be channelled to Yemen where millions of residents are also facing famine.
“Famine is a stain on our collective conscience. Millions of lives are at risk and more will die if we do not act quickly,” the WB boss said in a statement.
Mr Kim said the financial institution will also work with affected communities to build resilience to future shocks.
“We know that resolution to this acute crisis will not be possible without all humanitarian and development actors working together,” he said while calling on the international community to respond robustly and quickly to the United Nations global appeal for resources for famine.
The World Bank’s intervention comes only a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta launched a drought mitigation plan.
Meanwhile European Union announced an additional €23 million (Sh2.5 billion) to contain drought especially in arid areas in Kenya.
A statement from the EU office said the money will help address the “most urgent needs” of the people, but also contribute to long-term programmes to avoid future famine.
EU ambassador to Kenya Stafano Dejak said the money will be part of the bloc’s continued programme to invest in counties to respond to disasters.
The money will be in addition to the already allocated €169 million (Sh18.3 billion), which the EU is spending under the Kenya Rural Development Programme for food security and combating shocks of climate change.
Last month, the government said it will require an additional Sh11.4 billion to address food shortage and rise of malnutrition in the country, which had risen to 30 per cent.
A situation update from State House showed that Turkana, Mandera and Marsabit counties are most affected with food shortage while Baringo, Isiolo and Turkana have severe cases of malnutrition.
The additional financial requirement means that the government has revised its estimates for the relief programme, which the Ministry of Devolution earlier said should go to August, costing an additional Sh9 billion from April.