Jill Biden on Sunday pleaded with the nations of the world to help the hungry people of East Africa, which is experiencing a record drought.
The First Lady visited the village of Lositeti in Kajiado County, in the southern part of Kenya, to speak about food insecurity. The Horn of Africa – made up of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somilia – is facing a possible famine.
The United States provides 70% of humanitarian assistance, but Biden pleaded with other nations to increase contributions.
We can’t be the only ones. We have to get other countries to join us in this global effort to help these people in the region,’ he said. People are starving.
He acknowledged other world events that require assistance money, including the war in Ukraine, but said help was needed in Africa.
‘There is the war in the Ukraine. There is the earthquake in Turkey. I mean there are a lot of competing interests,” she said, adding her plea for more help.
In the Horn of Africa, 23 million people need assistance, according to USAID. In Kenya, 4.4 million people face food insecurity, according to the World Food Program.
Combating food insecurity was one of the main reasons Biden made his five-day trip to Africa, where he touted American aid while working to shore up relations on a continent where China is making its influence known.
Jill Biden meets with women in Africa
She spent around 90 minutes in total on the ground, visiting an extension center that provides medical assistance and meeting with local women to learn that the drought has affected them. Naomi Biden accompanied her.
She was greeted by a group of singers and dancers who surrounded her as a red scarf was placed over her left shoulder.
They also gave her a beaded necklace to wear, made by the Maasai to represent their culture.
The town of Lositeti is the location of the only water within a 25-mile radius, according to USAID’s George Ombis, making it a popular place for people to gather. About 500 were there to see Biden, even walking around his trailer to look at all the vehicles.
Ombis said parents can take their children to the outreach center to be tested for malnutrition, “the rates of which are going up and up.”
Below the tents was a trough. It is connected to a good operation with solar energy, which Ombis said is crucial since that way they are not dependent on fuel. He said there is water, but it is deep in the earth and needs to be brought to light.
Everyone is piling in here, bringing their animals and their children. And that of course is putting additional pressure on the community here,” he noted.
Biden visited during dry conditions. it was a hot and dry day. The wind lifted dirt, leaving a layer of red dust over everything. Flies swarmed around people and animals.
There wasn’t much plant life and what there was was sparse. The cows were there along with some dogs and goats but again not many. Ombis said half the cattle in the area have died.
Ombis took Biden on a tour of the outreach center, which has stations to weigh children, assess their nutritional needs, vaccinate them and provide medical advice.
A girl, who looked younger than a year old, in a hot pink dress, was sitting on her mother’s lap, sucking her thumb and looking out at the crowd of photographers snapping photos of Biden.
Biden greeted her as she approached. You have such a beautiful dress. I love her dress.
The first lady introduced herself as Jill Biden of the United States.
He had many questions, including access to food and education, as well as how people made a living. Many people depend on agriculture and ranching for income, which means that poverty has hit the area.
He saw the trough, which was about 10 feet long and three-quarters of the way full of water. Cows grazed near him.
Jill Biden talks to a girl
She reflected on the event.
‘The water here feeds 12 villages and each village has approximately 1,000 to 1,200 people. So they come here, they come here to fetch water, they bring their cattle. But unfortunately for many of them their livelihood comes from their cattle. And for most of them their cattle are dying. So they’re having a bad time. Their children are malnourished. They cannot feed their children,” he said.
On the way back to Nairobi, Biden received a gift. A giraffe was eating on the side of a road. She and Naomi BIden stopped to get out of their car to see him.