Government releases additional KES 2 billion to combat drought – Gachagua

The government has set aside KES 2 Billion for immediate response to the raging drought and famine, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has said.

Presiding over a consultative meeting on the drought situation in the country at his Harambee House Annex office on Monday, DP Gachagua asked the ministries and government agencies to include other partners in the response to avoid duplication of roles in combating the drought that has affected more than 5.3 million people.

“We have a responsibility to save lives and livelihoods,” the DP told the meeting, which included Cabinet Secretaries, Prof Kithure Kindiki (Interior), Mithika Linturi (Agriculture), Rebecca Miano (Arid and Semi-Arid Lands) and Peninah Malonza (Tourism) and other top government officers.

The Deputy President said the response is urgent even as it seeks a long-term solution.

Under this plan, which is part of the ongoing immediate responses, agencies like the Kenya Defence Forces, Kenya Meat Commission, the Kenya Wildlife Services, the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), and the Kenya Meteorological Department will work with key ministries to identify and mitigate the drought effects.

To date, various mitigation efforts have been deployed to the most affected parts of the country. These include the distribution of relief food, the trucking of water to those in need, the drilling and rehabilitation of boreholes, and a livestock offset programme that was spearheaded by the Kenya Meat Commission with the support of the Kenya Red Cross.

These interventions, as well as others such as the scaling up of the Hunger Safety Net Programme by NDMA and the School Feeding Programme championed by the Ministry of Education, have all provided some relief to the most affected populations.

Data from NDMA shows that at least 4.35 million people in 23 counties are facing starvation with another 846,000 in nine additional counties in need of assistance. Between September 2022 and January 2023, the government spent at least Sh3.2 billion in emergency responses.

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