UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Visits East Africa

1 February 2011: During an official three-day visit to Kenya and Somalia, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos noted that Kenya's humanitarian challenges, caused by drought and rapid urbanization, can be addressed by sustainable recovery of livelihoods and restoring local coping mechanisms to deal with climate change-induced disasters.

Amos stated that recurring droughts are forcing urban communities to migrate to urban areas such as Nairobi. Recent migrants end up living in inadequate urban settlements, which have limited or no water and sanitation facilities. She also noted that irrigation farming, providing adequate water to pastoral livestock herders, improving animal husbandry through disease control and better breeds, and making livestock marketing more efficient could reduce shortages of food and water in Kenya.

During a meeting with Government officials, Amos commended the efforts of Kenya's Minister for Special Programmes to focus on investing in long-term programmes that are supporting local communities to build resilience to climate-induced disasters. She also met with the the Heads of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) to discuss ongoing UN support on environmental issues, urbanization and emergency response and preparedness to the Government of Kenya. [UN Press Release]