Australia offers Kenya food aid

February 1, 2009 12:00 am

, ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Feb 1 – Australia has donated humanitarian assistance worth Sh160million to mitigate the current food crisis facing the country.

The humanitarian assistance was granted following discussions between Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula and  his Australian counterpart, Stephen Smith, at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

Mr. Wetangula hailed the warm and cordial relations existing between the two countries adding that Kenya is one of Australia’s longest-standing bilateral partners and looked forward to strengthening the existing ties.

The two Ministers discussed and expressed concern over the growing food security crisis in the Horn of Africa which has also affected Kenya.

Mr. Smith expressed optimism that the funds would go a long way in urgently distributing the much need humanitarian assistance to the people of Kenya.

"Australian Non Governmental Organizations working in Kenya shall receive funding to the tune of One million dollars to urgently provide the affected people with relief supplies," he said.

The other tranche of the funds would be availed to the World Food Programme (WFP) which has been providing relief food to about 1.5 million Kenyans affected by the post-election violence and the current drought.

Australia has provided donor assistance worth $22 million to Kenya since 2003.

President Mwai Kibaki declared the current food emergency facing the country a National Disaster last month. He also launched a campaign to raise over 37 billion shillings required to address the urgent situation.

The government has said that a national assessment has shown that 10 million Kenyans were food insecure and required emergency food assistance.

The Ministry of Agriculture is currently under the spotlight after it emerged that millions of imported maize bags disappeared under unclear circumstances with reports indicating that a cartel involving politicians and prominent businessmen was alleged to be behind the deal.


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