The government has rolled out long and short-term interventions in order to stabilize the drought situation in the country until rains are received.
The anticipated short rains in the month of December 2021 did not perform as expected, thus impacting many sectors in the affected counties.
During a media briefing on the update on government interventions against drought in the country, the Government Spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna said 225,705 beneficiary households from 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) Counties have been incorporated into the cash transfer program.
This program, he said, replaced the physical distribution of food from 9th December, 2021 within which each household is entitled to Sh3,000 amounting to Sh677,115,000 that was disbursed by the Government to the beneficiaries in the month of December 2021.
“The cash transfer program not only saves time and cost of transportation, but also gives freedom to the affected to buy the food they like,” said Oguna.
The spokesperson noted that in the month of January 2021, Sh495,384,000 was disbursed to 165,128 households from the most affected 12 ASAL Counties.
“Overall, the counties under food and water stress remain 23, with 12 of them continuing to face severe risk of drought including Baringo, Garissa, Isiolo among others,” said Oguna.
He said disbursement to the beneficiaries of the other 11 Counties totaling Sh179, 816,128 is being processed.
Apart from the cash transfer, Oguna said the Government had invested Sh450 million into the off-take program which has two streams; the commercial off-take, and the ground off-take.
He said that the amount has been used to offload very weak cattle from farmers under the commercial off-take program with 11,250 cattle and 3200 goats being bought from farmers from the 12 most-affected counties including Marsabit, Garissa, and Mandera.
Oguna said water tracking as another intervention where the National Government and County Governments have collaborated to provide water to the affected households for both domestic use and livestock with the Government disbursing Sh350 million.
“I call upon everyone to develop a water saving culture when it rains so that during the drought season every household has some water left for use,” said Oguna.
The spokesperson cited that no one has died of hunger adding that the Government in collaboration with the Chinese Government has provided physical food consisting of 4,500 bags of rice, 2,700 bags of beans, and 900 cartons of fortified food to be distributed to the people of Marsabit County.
Speaking of Inua Jamii as another intervention, Oguna said the Government has continued to provide support to vulnerable groups in the country under the Inua Jamii social support program, where Sh8.54 billion has been disbursed to the target groups countrywide, including the 23 ASAL counties.
“A total of 1,067,805 beneficiaries which include Older Persons, Orphans and Vulnerable Children and Persons with Severe Disabilities received Sh8, 000 per person for the months of July-October 2021, totalling to Sh8.54 billion,” noted Oguna.
The spokesperson said other interventions include the Presidential Secondary School Bursary, which aims at providing learning opportunities for children from vulnerable families, adding that the Government released Sh400 million to cater for the bursary.
He called upon the media to exercise ethical responsibility when reporting on hunger issues, adding that the government will not relent in helping its citizens until the drought situation stabilizes.
By Catherine Muindi