At least 2 million Kenyans from 10 counties have been hard hit by the current drought ravaging the country.
Addressing the press at a Garissa hotel today, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said that the government with the assistance of other state and non-state actors was working round the clock to cushion the affected Kenyans. He said the situation is still at the alert stage and was well under control.
Wamalwa who later inspected the drought situation and World Bank projects under the Kenya Development Response to Displacement Impacts Projects (KDRDIP) said that the government was focused on seeing enhancement on access to water to residents across the country especially those in areas that have been badly hit.
Wamalwa noted that so far, no human life has been lost adding that ‘drought is not like floods or other disasters where human live is lost suddenly’.
“Drought is systematic and progressive. As we speak, we are at the alert stage. We have not reached the alarm stage. There is no course for alarm,” Wamalwa said.
“The region is expecting the short rains in October. Experts however say it might be below average, something that will make an already bad situation worse,” he added.
The CS said the government was fully aware of the minimal rainfall expected disclosing that more intervention including supplying feeds to pastoralists across the affected areas will soon commence.
“We are here to assure the country at large that the National government has several interventions in place to address the drought situation in our country. We are not only looking at saving lives but also those of the livestock which are the main source of livelihood for the residents,” he said.
Wamalwa disclosed that the national government has so far released Sh 1.117 billion to cushion drought victims in Garissa, Wajir, Mandera and Isiolo counties noting that in the next two weeks the state will be releasing an additional Sh 558 million.
“The national government will be extending a helping hand of Sh 500 million to these counties with the support from European Union,” Wamalwa said.
He commended efforts by the county governments in terms of drought intervention including water trucking.
Dadaab MP Mohamed Dahiye and his Fafi counterpart Abdikarim Osman who were present urged the national government to scale up drought intervention measures and not wait to act when the situation is out of hand.
In the recent past, leaders from Northern Kenya have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare the current drought a national disaster.
Led by treasury CS Ukur Yatani the leaders said that although the ongoing drought has affected many parts of the country, Northern Kenya is the worst hit and require urgent attention.
In 2017 the country experienced one of its worst droughts ever, forcing President Kenyatta to declare it a national disaster.
By Jacob Songok