Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eugene Wamalwa has warned that the drought situation experienced earlier in the year will continue despite the rains which have pounded parts of the country.
Wamalwa said that according to weather experts the rains are coming to an end in the month of June and in the beginning of July the country will again be experiencing a biting drought not just in the 13 counties that were highlighted before but the number of counties will go up.
“In May we experienced some rains which have brought some relief to the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) counties which were hard hit by the drought,” said Wamalwa.
He was speaking on Monday while exchanging a report on emergency humanitarian rice donated by the people’s republic of China to mitigate the effects of the 2017/2018 drought in Kenya.
Wamalwa said in the June and July 2016 the drought situation was clearly figured out and it was unique with effects such as wiping out livestock feeds which affected milk production, and total depletion of vegetation along the coastal area.
“By February 2017, the weather situation in the country had not been promising agriculturally where rainfall in the Arid and semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) had failed.
The situation affected around 0.6 million people and were therefore in need of assistance due to diminishing rainfall. Eighty percent of production in the region depends on rainfall,” explained the CS.
He added that an assessment was undertaken in February 2017 and revealed that 1.3 million people were in need of relief food.
A Mid-season assessment was undertaken which indicated that the situation had been worsening resulting in 3.5 million people in need of assistance with food.
“The Government of the People’s Republic of China came to our aid and provided Parboiled Rice worth Kshs.2.25 billion as food relief.
This was 437, 320 bags of 50 kilogrammes of rice. The rice was freely distributed to 3.5 million hunger stricken Kenyans throughout the country,” said Wamalwa.
Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng said that since 2016 drought has continued to affect the livelihoods of many Kenyans which has drawn worldwide attention which necessitated Chinese intervention of Kshs.2.5 billion worth of food aid.
Peng said that 21, 366 tons of rice were shipped to Kenya within one year which has been distributed to millions of people affected by the drought.
“This year again Kenya is hit by another drought which is said to be the worst in 38 years and once again the Chines people have contributed Sh2.5 billion worth of 12 tons of rice to the country with the first consignment having arrived last May19.
The food has since been distributed and the remaining 1, 500 tons expected in the country by the end of June,” explained the ambassador.
“China has to date financed close to 100 development projects through grants, interest free loans and concessional loans.
My country has also set up significant infrastructural projects such as the Moi International Sports complex – Kasarani, the Sino-Africa joint research Centre and the Centre for language and culture at Kenyatta University,” noted the Ambassador.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a