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Published:April 30th, 2006 10:20 EST
United Nations Special Humanitarian Envoy Warned That  Crisis  Worsens

United Nations Special Humanitarian Envoy Warned That Crisis Worsens

By SOP newswire

Arriving today in Kenya, where 3.5 million people need emergency assistance, a United Nations Special Humanitarian Envoy warned that the crisis could deepen as families exhaust their remaining resources.

Kjell Magne Bondevik made his comments in Nairobi, as he continued his tour of drought-affected countries in the Horn of Africa.

Food insecurity in Kenya remains severe in pastoral areas where the majority of those most affected are living, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In Mandera district in the north, acute malnutrition in children has been recorded and high losses of livestock reported.

While the rainy season has been good so far in drought affected areas, floods have destroyed crops, homes and infrastructure. The rains have also brought with them the added threat of water-borne disease and sanitation concerns, in some areas deepening the humanitarian crisis.

Mr. Bondevik noted that the situation is aggravated by underlying factors, such as poverty, development, environmental degradation and marginalization. "Assets and livelihoods have already been lost and levels of vulnerability remain critically high," he warned.

Earlier in February, following a two-day visit to Kenya in his first role as the Special Humanitarian Envoy, Mr. Bondevik highlighted the need to ensure integrated long-term strategic approaches with the current crisis response, aimed at breaking the cycle of vulnerability and livelihood insecurity.

Today, Mr Bondevik was briefed by the UN Regional Support Office for Central and East Africa. Tomorrow he will travel to Baidoa and Wajid in Somalia with donors, media and UN representatives to see local aid projects such as a therapeutic feeding centre which treats malnourished children, an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp, and water projects. He will also meet Government authorities and community elders.

The UN United Nations launched a regional appeal for the Horn of Africa earlier this month, requesting $443 million to support the urgent needs of more than eight million people. To date, the Appeal has received pledges and contributions of $95 million.