There is renewed hope for 24,000 families adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic in Mombasa following the launch of a programme that will see them benefit from monthly stipends for the next three months.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with national and local government Friday launched cash transfers for 96,000 people whose livelihoods were affected by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Each selected family will receive Ksh. 4,000 to cover half of the monthly food and nutrition needs for a family of four.
“The cash and additional nutrition support for women and children will be provided for three months,” said Lauren Landis, WFP’s Kenya Country Director.
Travel restrictions and partial lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Kenya dealt a devastating blow to the economy, particularly affecting families on the coast who depended on informal daily employment to earn money directly or indirectly from the tourism industry.
Mombasa County accounts for 12 per cent of the number of COVID-19 cases in Kenya – the second-highest number after Nairobi.
Tourism was the leading source of income in the county before the pandemic. As a result of rising infections, most of the tourism sector was forced to cut its workforce and many businesses either closed entirely or are struggling to stay afloat.
“We welcome the support from the USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and the World Food Programme. This assistance will go a long way in cushioning the many families in distress following the loss of income due to the Covid-19 restrictions,” said Hassan Ali Joho, Governor of Mombasa County.
“We appreciate the deepening of support to vulnerable families after our own Mombasa Household Nutrition Support Programme met the initial needs. Since Covid-19 is likely to be with us for quite some time, we welcome all initiatives that can lessen the burden on vulnerable groups,” he added.
WFP is also partnering with the Ministry of Health, and Mombasa County Government to support treatment for malnutrition among 6,000 children and women in the city. WFP will distribute a nutritious peanut-based paste for children and fortified flour for malnourished mothers.
The initiative has been extended to Nairobi informal settlements where WFP is on course to reach 70,500 families with monthly cash transfers and is also distributing nutrition products to 21,000 people.
Last month, the Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics estimated that as many as 1.7 million Kenyans had lost jobs across the country.
The unemployment rate doubled to 10.4 percent compared to 5.2 percent in March when the first cases of COVID-19 were reported.