The government has released Sh.2 billion to cushion about six million people facing famine as the effects of the ongoing drought continue ravaging livelihoods in the country, Cabinet Secretary for East African and Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) Rebecca Miano has said.
The CS said that the government has already kicked off the procurement of relief food which will be distributed to vulnerable households.
“We are scaling up various drought response interventions in line with President Dr. William Ruto ’s commitment to rally Government and partners in mitigating impact of the deteriorating drought situation,” said the CS in a press statement released on Friday.
She pointed out that the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) is providing livestock feed supplements and implementing water related interventions with funding from the National Drought Emergency Fund (NDEF) and the European Union.
“Cumulative effects of previous successive below-average rainfall seasons has led to depletion of pasture and water in most ASAL counties, which has resulted in poor body condition of livestock and widespread livestock mortality,” said CS Miano.
Miano added that NDMA is set to dispatch 60,480 bags (50kgs) of livestock feed supplements worth Sh145 million to eight ASAL counties.
She added that Kitui, Makueni, Kajiado, Marsabit and Isiolo counties have already benefited with the feeds while the process is currently ongoing in Mandera, Wajir and Nyeri.
The feeds target livestock left behind as the larger herds migrate in search of pasture and water. “These herds provide milk for families, which contribute significantly to the nutrition status of vulnerable groups such as children below five years, pregnant and lactating women,” the CS said.
On water crisis being experienced, CS Miano said that, NDMA has supported water trucking, provision of water tanks, provision of fuel subsidy to strategic boreholes, repair and rehabilitation of water facilities in Marsabit, Isiolo, Kajiado, Garissa, Laikipia, Wajir and West Pokot counties at a tune of Sh36.6 million.
“The prolonged drought has limited access to water. For instance, more than 60 percent of open water sources have dried up while river flow is below 40 percent of normal. Moreover, there is frequent breakdown of boreholes due to increased demand for water. This support will ensure communities have access to water as the drought persists,” the CS noted.
She said that about 970,000 children below five years and 142,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers need urgent life-saving treatment for malnutrition.
“An assessment of the impact of the 2022 short rains on food and nutrition security situation in the country revealed that an estimated six million people in 32 counties are currently facing acute food insecurity or acute malnutrition. This includes 4.4 million people in the 23 ASAL counties facing acute food insecurity and an additional 0.5 million in nine non-ASAL counties,”said CS Miano.
She appealed for partnership with various stakeholders aimed at scaling up humanitarian assistance due to drought.
“I reiterate the call by the President and appeal to our development partners, the private sector and other well-wishers to support us to bridge the resource gap for the scale-up of immediate life-saving interventions aimed at cushioning lives and livelihoods,” Miano emphasized.
By Muturi Mwangi