The Government has received a rice donation worth Sh. 2.25 billion from the Chinese government to help over 2.5 million people affected by drought in 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) Counties.
Receiving the first batch of the seventh and final consignment of humanitarian rice donated by the Government of China today at the Nairobi Inland Container Depot, the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes Margaret Kobia said the rice will assist Kenyans affected by drought in the country.
She said in particular the donation will be distributed to schools in the 23 ASAL counties to ensure the retention of students in schools during the drought period.
Kobia noted that strong bilateral relationships between Kenya and China date back before independence in 1963 and have expanded in many areas of social economic development.
“I am happy to note that the donation we are receiving today is a significant support from a friendly Government coming in an hour of need which shall greatly assist food-insecure populations,” said the CS.
She said that the Government has through a multi-agency approach put in place mitigation measures to support the persons affected by drought in the country through provision of relief food, water trucking and livestock off-take.
Kobia said the donation follows the President’s declaration that the drought situation is a national disaster on 8th September, 2021, a declaration that brought on board organizations both local and international to augment the government’s effort in drought response and assistance to millions of people who needed food.
“Through the State Department for Social Protection, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programs, relief food had been distributed to the 23 ASALs counties in the month of October and November,” noted the CS.
She thanked the China government for expressing her gratitude and standing with Kenya whenever the country faces challenges particularly those related to disasters.
“I assure you that the humanitarian assistance will target those who need it most and no Kenyan will die of hunger,” said Kobia.
In his remarks the minister Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Kenya Zhang Yijun while handing over the donation said China government has handed over to Kenya part of the seventh consignment consisting of 945 Metric Tons of rice.
“I can assure you that the government of China will continue supporting Kenya during such tough times,” said Yijun.
In October, eight counties were classified in the drought Alarm phase, while in November there are ten counties in drought Alarm phase, including Garissa, Isiolo, Kilifi, Kitui, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Tana River, Turkana and Wajir.
By Catherine Muindi