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European Law Monitor NewsDrought in Kenya: Commission provides €5 million in humanitarian aid

The European Commission has allocated €5 million in humanitarian aid to vulnerable populations in Northern Kenya affected by drought and facing a livelihood and nutritional crisis. Beneficiaries are up to 3.5 million pastoralists and "pastoralist drop outs" who can no longer survive pursuing this rural way of life. The Commission's humanitarian assistance addresses their needs concerning nutrition, health, water and sanitation, public health and hygiene. The new funds are in addition to Commission food aid • worth €4 million this year alone • and the aid that the Commission provides to improve drought preparedness in the whole region of the Horn of Africa, covering seven countries including Kenya. All relief funds are channelled through the Commission´s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel.

Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "For many Europeans, Kenya represents a beautiful tourist destination, but the country is also full of contrasts. Notably, the north of Kenya is afflicted by dire humanitarian needs. The European Commission and its Humanitarian Aid department, ECHO, are strongly committed to helping avoid the transformation of this chronic situation in the north into a full blown humanitarian crisis." The margins of rainfall between a "good year" and a total failure are so slim • 100-150 mm a year • that many areas, in particular in northern Kenya, are on a constant knife edge between recovery and disaster. Some pastoral communities lost 60-80% of their livestock in the last drought.


Since 2005, the European Commission has supported humanitarian aid operations in Kenya for a total of more than €13 million, including today's allocation.

In addition, the Commission is providing aid to the whole region of the Horn of Africa[1]: €92 million (since 2005) to mitigate the effects of drought, as well as more than €96 million in food aid for this year (including €4 million for Kenya).

Commission-funded projects are implemented by non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement. ECHO has a regional support office in Kenya´s capital, Nairobi. It closely follows developments in the humanitarian situation and plays an active role in the local coordination of relief efforts. It also monitors the use of the Commission's relief funds.

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Reproduced with the permission of the European Commission IP/07/1154