Counties ask for access to National Contingency Fund to deal with El Niño

The Council of Governors (COG) has asked the national government to ensure that at least 50% of the National Contingency Fund is set aside for access by the county governments for El Niño preparedness and response activities.

CoG chair Anne Waiguru says that cumulatively, counties only have about Sh 1 billion available in their budgets for El Niño disaster mitigations and response activities.

She said much more resources need to be mobilized just in case the anticipated rains cause havoc.

Waiguru further asked the National Treasury to release the outstanding balances of the county government’s equitable share of revenue for the months of August and September 2023, totaling Sh 35.24 billion, to enable counties to adequately prepare.

She said the country must have comprehensive plans in place for the potential evacuation of residents in flood-prone areas.

Speaking during the El Nino Preparedness and Response meeting with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua at his official residence in Karen, the COG chair said evacuation centers should be identified and equipped with the necessary resources to provide shelter, food, and medical care to those who will be affected by the rains.

“We recognize that managing the impacts of El Niño requires resources. We will actively engage with the national government, development partners, and private sector to ensure that the necessary funds and resources are available to support our preparedness and response efforts,” the governor said.

She said counties will prioritize the strengthening of infrastructure that is susceptible to damage from heavy rainfall and flooding.

“Roads, bridges, and drainage systems should be inspected and, where necessary, reinforced to ensure their resilience during the upcoming El Niño,” the governor added.

The chair said public awareness and education campaigns need to be undertaken to ensure that citizens are well-informed about the risks and how to protect themselves during El Niño events.

She said counties are committed to doing everything to minimize the impact of the El Nino weather phenomenon on their communities.

“We are committed to working with the National Government Administration Officers at the county level to have aligned reporting and documentation of all related events during and after El Nino. We envision a Kenya where every mother can assure her child that when the rains come, they will be safe; where every farmer can look up to the skies without the dread of loss; where every business owner, student, and leader knows that they are not alone in the face of nature’s fury,” the governor added.

She said that the meeting was convened to prepare for the oncoming El Nino with a bid to save lives and livelihoods by looking into social protection, health and nutrition, agriculture, education, livestock, peace, and security.

She noted that 23 counties have completed their risk analysis and mitigation plans, while the rest are well finalized.

Waiguru said multigovernment and multisectoral El Nino County Steering Committees and County Disaster Committees have mapped out and have mitigation plans in place for high-risk areas.

“With our humanitarian partners, we are expanding relief kits to prevent suffering and prevent death.It is urgent that we act now, especially at the local level. One quick action is to unclog drainages and put in place a recovery strategy,” said the COG Chair.





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