Counties

WFP cash targets 24,000 Covid-hit Mombasa homes

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Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The programme, in partnership with the national and Mombasa County governments, targets families in the informal settlements.
  • Each family will receive Sh4,000 ($40) monthly with additional nutrition support for women and children provided for three months.
  • Mombasa accounts for 12 per cent of Covid-19 cases in Kenya — the second-highest prevalence after Nairobi.
  • The assistance is aimed at alleviating the economic suffering of slum dwellers who mostly relied on casual labour before Covid-19 struck and have lost their incomes.

At least 24,000 families, whose livelihoods Covid-19 pandemic destroyed in Mombasa County, are set to benefit from a World Food Programme (WFP) cash transfer programme.

The programme, in partnership with the national and Mombasa County governments, targets families in the informal settlements.

Each family will receive Sh4,000 ($40) monthly with additional nutrition support for women and children provided for three months.

Mombasa accounts for 12 per cent of Covid-19 cases in Kenya — the second-highest prevalence after Nairobi.

The assistance is aimed at alleviating the economic suffering of slum dwellers who mostly relied on casual labour before Covid-19 struck and have lost their incomes.

“With a contribution from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, WFP has launched life-saving cash-based support in Mombasa for 24,000 families — or 96,000 people —who had lost their sources of livelihoods or have had their incomes slashed because of the pandemic,” said Lauren Landis, WFP Kenya country director.

Ms Landis said the tourism industry, a leading source of income in the county before the pandemic, has been forced to cut its workforce. Many businesses, she said have either closed shop or are struggling to stay afloat.

This is the second such programme by the UN agency in the country. The WFP launched a similar initiative in June for informal settlements in Nairobi.

The programme in Nairobi is on course to reach 70,500 families. It has also distributed nutrition products to 21,000 people.

The Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics, in September, estimated that 1.7 million Kenyans had lost jobs with unemployment rate doubling to 10.4 per cent compared to 5.2 per cent in March when the first cases of Covid-19 were reported.

“Covid-19 has caused untold suffering, especially to families living in poor urban areas who normally rely on informal day-to-day employment.

“Many families in the coastal region are struggling just to feed themselves,” said Ms Landis.

Governor Ali Hassan Joho said the initiative would cushion many families in distress.

“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 said.

Social Protection PS Nelson Marwa said the government recognises the effects of the pandemic, especially on the urban poor and the need for timely support.

“The ministry, therefore, applauds this noble intervention from WFP, to provide immediate relief to the vulnerable urban populations in Nairobi and Mombasa through direct cash transfers,” he said.