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World News

Kenyans hold national day of prayer for rain to ease extreme drought

by Premier Journalist

With the prospect of a sixth consecutive failed rainy season in the east and Horn of Africa, Kenya's president is hoping the heavens will finally open with the help of a national day of prayer.

William Ruto announced the plans for the first ever day of prayer, held today, at a service last Sunday in the drought-stricken city of Nakuru, some 100 miles from the capital Nairobi.

"As a government we have set out elaborate plans for food security, we have seeds, ample fertiliser, and water harvesting strategies including dams. We now need God to send us the rain," Mr Ruto said.

"I urge all people from all faiths ... to pray for our country."

Kenya and other east African nations have been experiencing some of the worst drought conditions in decades, causing crop failure, loss of livestock, wildlife and biodiversity, and malnutrition. Domestic agriculture is a large part of Kenya's economy.

The UN humanitarian agency has termed the ongoing drought in the region a "rapidly unfolding humanitarian catastrophe".

According to the UN, in drought affected areas of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, 22 million people are acutely food insecure and 5.1 million children are acutely malnourished. The World Food Programme is calling on donor countries to provide $2.4 billion this year to help avert a major crisis.

Meteorologists say human-caused climate change has been exacerbating the extreme conditions.

Last summer, Milan's archbishop made a pilgrimage to three churches in hopes of ending Italy's dry spell and the governor of the U.S state of Utah called for citizens to pray for rain ahead of a weekend of extreme heat.

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