No Kenyan will die of hunger, Principal Secretary (PS), State Department for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), Idris Salim Dokota, has said.
Dokota, who was speaking in Kajiado town, after overseeing relief food distribution, said the government has scaled up drought response interventions, to mitigate the impact of the deteriorating situation.
The PS revealed the government has released Sh2 billion towards the purchase and distribution of relief food in 29 counties worst hit by the ongoing drought.
“Kenya is facing the worst drought in 40 years but the government is prepared to ensure no one dies of hunger. We have done interventions in terms of relief food supply and water trucking to various counties,” he said.
Dokota further revealed that the school feeding programme was currently on course, with Sh1.9 billion set aside to ensure all learners stay in school.
He said the government was working closely with the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) and the World Food Programme (WFP) and called on various stakeholders to join the government, in efforts aimed at scaling humanitarian assistance.
On the water shortage being experienced, Dokota called on County Governments to invest on water storage facilities, adding that the government will ensure water harvesting infrastructure is in place before the on-set of the rainy season.
Kajiado County Commissioner, Felix Watakila, said the ongoing drought has left many households vulnerable and warned Chiefs against selling government relief food.
Watakila said anyone caught selling food set aside to cushion Kenyans against hunger, will be arrested and charged accordingly.
A recent report by the Ministry of East African Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), said an estimated six million people in 32 counties were facing acute food shortage and malnutrition.
The data includes 4.4 million people in the 23 ASAL counties and 0.5 million in nine non-ASAL counties.
According to the Report, the nutrition status of children and women has also worsened, with almost one million children under five years and 142,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers requiring treatment for malnutrition.
“Over 970,000 children aged 6 to 59 months and 142,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are currently malnourished compared to 884,000 reported in July 2022. These women and children are in urgent need of life-saving treatment for malnutrition,” reads the report in part.
Women in; Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera, Isiolo, Garissa, Baringo, and Samburu are the worst affected, with critical malnutrition levels.
By Rop Janet