Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has reiterated the government’s commitment to ensure that close to four million drought stricken Kenyans receive humanitarian assistance.
Mudavadi said the ongoing distribution of relief food to Kenyans in areas worst hit by the drought was part of the measures that the government had put in place to alleviate the problem.
The Prime CS also said that the government had rolled out feeding programmes in schools to retain learners.
“We are facing a crisis and according to the weather man, the situation may continue up to February. Besides the relief food, there is a need to construct dams and distribute free certified drought tolerant seeds,” he said.
Speaking at Yathui Polytechnic, in Mwala Sub County, during the distribution of relief food, Musalia also disclosed that the government would soon start a tree planting programme to combat climate change.
“The climatic conditions have worsened overtime and we will soon initiate an afforestation programme. We shall also seek to explore alternative sources of energy for cooking like solar energy to avoid cutting of trees, “he said.
On pollution of River Athi, Musalia assured residents that the government would start cleaning the river and warned factories discharging waste into the river that they would be prosecuted.
“There are deliberate and concerted efforts to clean the river and we are appealing to the international community to support the programme. Those dumping waste in the river should stop because it’s endangering both human and animal lives,” he said.
He also assured Kenyans that the government would serve them regardless of their political affiliation.
“We will serve all Kenyans whether they voted for us or not. We shall not allow abuse of government powers to intimidate Kenyans,” he added.
Speaking at the same event, Machakos Governor Wavinya Ndeti underscored the need to harvest water in the county to mitigate the perennial droughts experienced in the region.
“We have been relying on relief food for a long time, we need to construct sand dams, weirs and even farm ponds for irrigation,” she said.
The governor added that her government will work closely with the national government for the benefit of the residents.
“We are serving the same Kenyans and we shall be together despite our political standing,” said Wavinya.
Also present was Machakos County Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha who disclosed that close to half a million residents were in dire need of food aid in the county.
She said Mwala, Yatta, Masinga and Kalama were the worst hit and disclosed that the government had already issued 4,000 bags of rice and 1,600 bags of beans to the affected families.
“The food has mainly targeted vulnerable households and schools. Since the programme started, school attendance has improved significantly,” added the County Commissioner.
She hailed World Vision and Kenya Red Cross for supplementing the government’s efforts to support starving families in the county.
“World Vision is supporting 1,500 families in Mwala through a cash transfer programme at a cost of Sh7 million. They have also issued bursaries to 520 needy students worth Sh11 million,” noted Onyancha.
Speaking at the same event, Mwala MP Vincent Musyoka called for a long lasting solution to the perennial droughts in the region saying food aid was not sustainable.
“We cannot continue to rely on relief food. The solution lies in small-scale irrigation to ensure that residents are food secure,” said Musyoka.
During the event 1,200 bags of rice, 480 bags of beans each weighing 50 kilograms and 300 cartons of processed meat were given to residents affected by the famine in Mwala.
By Roselyne Kavoo and Racheal Kilonzo