The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is sending an emergency team to drought-stricken areas of Kenya this week to pinpoint how many more people in this Eastern African nation need food aid.Last month, the Rome-based agency warned that the lack of rainfall will likely spark a serious food security crisis during the first half of the year and the number of people needing food support could more than double to 2.5 million.The agency is now feeding 1.2 million drought victims but fears the number will soar after the assessment team reports back to the Kenya Food Security Meeting (KFSM). This group includes UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), donors and government officials. The agency and its humanitarian partners are sending an emergency assessment team to the worst-hit pastoral and agricultural districts. A final report, which will cover some 27 drought-affected districts, is expected in February. But the food security group wants to respond immediately after its experts return from their initial destination – the worst hit districts of the north.Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Isiol, Marsabit and Moyale districts, all on the frontline of the drought, are showing the tell-tale signs of a major food crisis in the making. Humanitarian agencies are particularly concerned by reports of camels and donkeys, without adequate pasture and water, now dying in large numbers.WFP has dispatched food aid convoys to northern Kenya to replenish its school feeding programme before the new term begins on Monday The UN agency already faced a $46.5 million shortfall in its $128 million emergency operation, launched in July 2004 and extended until the end of February, before the number of anticipated drought-victims swelled. A pending revision will boost the total appeal by $140 million to cover needs from March to August of this year.