The UN World Food Programme, WFP, in partnership with the Kenyan government, on Friday, launched cash transfers to help 24,000 families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in informal settlements in the coastal city of Mombasa.
Lauren Landis, the WFP’s country director for Kenya, said this in a statement issued in Mombasa.
Landis said the UN agency’s support complements other social protection programmes run by national and county governments.
“COVID-19 has caused untold suffering especially to families living in poor urban areas that normally rely on informal day-to-day employment,’’ Landis said.
“Many families in the coastal region are struggling just to feed themselves.”
|Travel restrictions and partial lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Kenya dealt a devastating blow to the economy.
This is particularly affecting families on the coast who depend on informal daily employment to earn money directly or indirectly from the tourism industry.
According to the ministry of health, Mombasa County accounts for 12 per cent of the number of COVID-19 cases in Kenya, the second highest number after the capital, Nairobi.
Tourism was the leading source of income in the coastal region before the pandemic, but due to rising infections, most of the tourism sector was forced to cut its workforce, making
many businesses to either close entirely or remain struggling to stay afloat.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, as many as 1.7 million Kenyans have lost their jobs across the country.
The unemployment rate doubled to 10.4 per cent, up from 5.2 per cent in March, when the first cases of COVID-19 were reported.
The WFP is also partnering with the Kenyan Ministry of Health and the Mombasa county government to support treatment for malnutrition among
6,000 children and women in Mombasa.
Under the scheme, the WFP will distribute a nutritious peanut-based paste for children and fortified flour for malnourished mothers.