, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 – The European Union (EU) has almost tripled its financial support to Kenya to ease the current humanitarian crisis following an influx of Somali refugees fleeing drought.
European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and crisis response Kristalina Georgieva announced on Tuesday that they would give Kenya Sh21 billion up from the current Sh8.4 billion aid to Kenya to address the challenge.
“Our focus must be on helping people whose survival is at risk…to get help as quickly as possible, as close as possible to the affected people in Somalia but also in Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti,” she stated.
The EU commissioner said they would also increase support to humanitarian organisations inside Somalia to stop the influx of refugees into Kenya.
“This is our priority at the moment to make sure that humanitarian organisations that have been successful in helping the Somali people have the resources to significantly increase their assistance inside Somalia,” the EU Commissioner said.
“Once the most dangerous time that the drought has brought is over, attention has to go back to resolving the root causes of the conflict,” she said adding “there is no time for inexperienced organisations; help is needed as soon as possible.”
Ms Georgieva noted that there was need for investment in drought preparedness and prevention to cope with the recurring droughts.
She called on humanitarian and donor organisations to work together to save the lives of those in urgent need of food aid inside Somalia, where the situation is more severe.
“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,” she told Journalists at a press conference.
“We want to get food and medicine there,” she added.
The current drought ravaging the war torn Somalia has led to an influx of refugees in Kenya with thousands of immigrants entering the Dadaab camp every week.
The camp which is located in Northern Kenya is currently holding close to 400,000 immigrants as opposed to its capacity of 90,000 people.
This is adversely affecting the livelihood of surrounding communities and also poses serious security risks.
The combination of drought and conflict in Somalia has intensified the problem and the United Nations estimates that more than 135,000 people have fled that country since the beginning of this year.
The crisis is expected to worsen over the next three to four months.