As Gov't Bickers, Drought Ravages Kenya

Squabbling government fails to prepare for the worst as 4M starve
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2009 10:46 AM CDT
School children fetch dirty water from a drying river in Nyariginu village, Kenya, Monday, Aug. 17, 2009.   (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
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(Newser) – While countries like Ethiopia and Somalia have been long associated with drought and famine, it's the robust safari destination of Kenya that's wasting away. Nearly 4 million Kenyans, 10% of the population, are desperate for food due to a lack of rainfall—some villages haven't seen rain in years, the New York Times reports. And though aid communities predicted the drought months in advance, Kenya’s government was too embroiled in political infighting to respond.

There have even been allegations that some officials illegally sold off tons of the nation’s grain reserves, even as the famine loomed. Meanwhile, donor nations have dragged their heels in response, disappointed with Kenya’s leadership, which has done little to clean house following 2007’s disastrous election. The UN has managed to drum up less than half its $576 million emergency appeal.