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NAIROBI, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- Some 2.8 million Kenyans in arid and semi-arid areas are still in need of food aid due to persistent dry conditions in the regions, the drought management agency of Kenya said in a report released Thursday.

The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) noted that those affected are in 23 counties, 18 of which are in the normal drought phase, while five are in the alert phase and require close monitoring.

It said the nutrition situation was above the long-term average in 52 percent of the counties, with 11 on a worsening trend. "The poor nutrition status is a result of previous failed seasons, thus livelihoods are still in recovery mode," the NDMA said.

The agency also observed that most of the arid regions had experienced a decline in vegetation conditions, with the situation attributed to rising temperatures.

The NDMA expects the tough conditions in the arid areas to improve with the onset of the October-December rainy season, where the East African nation is projected to receive heavier than normal El Nino rainfall.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Center expects the rains to start in Kenya and the rest of the Horn of Africa from mid-October, positively impacting agriculture in areas that won't experience flooding. - Xinhua

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