Canada said on Tuesday that it will contribute 700 million shillings (about 9.2 million U.S. dollars) to the World Food Programme to those affected by the drought in Kenya.
"The drought in Kenya has created a critical situation. Canada is responding to the urgent need to assist the World Food Programme to meet the food and nutrition needs in the country," Canada's High Commissioner to Kenya Ross Hynes said.
"Addressing food security needs in Africa and elsewhere is a top priority for Canada."
The failure of the short rains during the last quarter of 2008 has resulted in severe crop failure in the arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya, and has aggravated already existing drought conditions.
Canada's contribution to the World Food Programme will help benefit close to four million vulnerable people in Kenya, including Somali and Sudanese refugees, through general food distribution, food-for-assets programming, emergency school feeding, supplementary feeding, and a mother and child health care program.
World Food Programme operations in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda are helping to meet the needs of approximately 17 million people, including internally displaced persons, refugees, returnees, women and children, whose food security is further threatened by severe drought conditions.
The World Food Programme stresses the importance of these operations in meeting the basic food needs of these populations.
Extremely high malnutrition rates, in excess of 20 percent, are reported in areas of Sub-Saharan Africa affected by drought, reflecting the severity of the crisis.
Canada is currently the largest single country contributor to the World Food Programme and this year has doubled its aid to Africa over 2003-04 assistance contributions, a year earlier than its G8 commitment.