Fight twin grave threats

What you need to know:

  • According to a new global report, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia and other African countries face a severe humanitarian crisis in which millions of people need relief food and urgent medical aid
  • For the region, the situation has also been aggravated by the recent locust invasion of huge territories.

The bad spell for the country, as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic is not getting any better, what with the increasing infections and deaths. But even more alarming is the report that nearly 3.6 million Kenyans face the risk of hunger and starvation at a time when more of the country’s resources, both material and human, are being channelled into the efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19 and mitigate its effects.

According to a new global report, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia and other African countries face a severe humanitarian crisis in which millions of people need relief food and urgent medical aid.

This perennial problem, with the challenge to ensure food security recurring year after year, has not been helped by the consequences of climate change that have undermined the ability to produce enough food for the rapidly growing populations.


For the region, the situation has also been aggravated by the recent locust invasion of huge territories. Efforts to fight the pests, which had spread from the arid and semi-arid northern regions of Kenya to the food basket of Rift Valley, appear to have somewhat tamed them.

Credit for this goes to the Ministry of Agriculture and international organisations, including UN agencies. The problem is not over, but the lull has given the authorities an opportunity to step up efforts to stop the breeding and spread of new swarms of the voracious insects.

The pandemic is aggravating the situation as the ability of the government to provide for the vulnerable is stretched. The traditional donors also have their ability to extend help constrained as they, too, fight the pandemic. The biggest challenge for Kenya is the community spread of the virus, which will badly hit agriculture. However, the fight against Covid-19 must be intensified.