More than 5.4 million people in Kenya will likely experience acute food insecurity beginning in March - and almost one million children are likely to suffer malnutrition this year as East Africa faces the worst drought in decades, an international initiative reported on Tuesday.
The analysis by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification predicted an increase in the 4.4 million Kenyans currently facing high levels of food insecurity in a country with a population of about 47.5 million. The current figure represents a 43% increase compared to the same period last year.
Kenyan President William Ruto last week led a national prayer day for rain and promised to institute policies that would ensure the country's people have enough to eat.
Rain is forecast for March but the Kenya Meteorological Department said there would be a delayed start of the rainy season in northern Kenya, which is mostly arid and semi-arid.
The region has had six failed rainy seasons, with less than usual rainfall in some areas and no rain in others.
Kenyan TV reported that herders from Wajir county in northern Kenya have had to migrate because of the drought.