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State Sends Funds to Drought Victims

The Government has disbursed more than Ksh1.1 billion to cushion poor and vulnerable households in Arid and semi-Arid regions on the country.

The funds under the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) will offer relief to hunger stricken residents in Marsabit, Wajir, Mandera and Turkana counties to cushion and enable them wade through the ravages of severe drought in the region.

The Authority has allocated more than Ksh638.6 million under the drought shock responsive cash transfer portfolio to an additional 58,000 households in the four affected counties.

The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), Chief Executive Officer Lt. Col. (Rtd) Hared Hassan Adan said that the beneficiaries will begin receiving their payments this week through Equity Bank Agents and branches within their regions.

“Mandera and Marsabit counties, with over 19,000 and 18,000 beneficiaries, will receive Ksh 108 million and Ksh101 million respectively while Wajir county with over 17,000 beneficiaries received Ksh95 million”, he said.

He added that Turkana County has the highest number of beneficiaries standing at over 35,000 and the county has received Ksh195 million in HSNP routine cash transfers.

The counties of Mandera, Marsabit, Turkana and Wajir are among the counties hardest hit by the ongoing drought after four consecutive failed seasons which has undermined livelihoods and community coping mechanisms.

He explained that HSNP shock responsive cash transfers are disbursed to beneficiaries upon triggers based on set thresholds of the vegetation condition index (VCI).

“When the drought is severe in a given sub-county, an additional 25 percent of households registered in the HSNP database are on-boarded to benefit from the stipend while if the VCI shows that drought is in the extreme phase, then the number of beneficiaries is raised to 50 percent of the registered households,” he said .

Lt. Col. (Rtd) Adan further said that NDMA has also disbursed over Ksh 500 million under the routine cash transfer segment to over 91,000 beneficiaries.

“Each household under the HSNP routine segment, commonly referred to as Group 1 beneficiaries, is entitled to Ksh5,400 while those under the shock-responsive portfolio will receive Ksh2,700,” said Lt. Col. (Rtd) Adan.

Beneficiaries will begin receiving their payments on Wednesday June 29, 2022, through Equity Agents and branches within their regions and the CEO asked those with pending concerns like Change of recipient and ID updates to visit the nearest Equity bank branches to regularize their details in readiness for payments.

“Mandera and Marsabit counties, with over 19,000 and 18,000 beneficiaries, will receive Ksh108 million and Ksh101 million respectively while Wajir county with over 17,000 beneficiaries received Ksh95 million. Turkana County has the highest number of beneficiaries standing at over 35,000. This county has received Ksh195 million in HSNP routine cash transfers,” he said.

The counties of Mandera, Marsabit, Turkana and Wajir are among the counties hardest hit by the ongoing drought after four consecutive failed seasons which has undermined livelihoods and community coping mechanisms.

“The drought situation has continued to worsen in nineteen (19) of the 23 ASAL counties. This is attributed to the poor performance of the 2021 short rains coupled with previous two failed consecutive seasons and early cessation of the 2022 long rains season”, the CEO said.

Lt. Col (Rtd) Adan confirmed that the number of people in need of assistance has increased from 3.5 million in May to 4.1 million in June 2022.

Six (6) counties namely Laikipia, Mandera, Marsabit, Wajir, Isiolo and Samburu , the CEO noted are in Alarm drought phase while thirteen (13) counties including Kilifi, Turkana, West-Pokot, Kwale, Meru (North), Embu (Mbeere), Garissa, Kajiado, Kitui, Nyeri (Kieni), Taita-Taveta, Tharaka-Nithi and Tana-River are in Alert drought phase.

The remaining four (4) counties including Baringo, Lamu, Narok and Makueni, he added, are in the Normal drought phase.

“Acute malnutrition has also been noted across the counties with 942,000 cases of children aged 6-59 months acutely malnourished and 134,000 cases of pregnant or lactating women acutely malnourished in need of treatment”, the CEO said.

He explained that since September 2021, the Government has disbursed over Ksh2.6 billion in cash transfers under HSNP and another Ksh8.58 billion targeting the elderly, orphans and vulnerable children and People with severe Disabilities.

The Government, he noted has stepped up drought response effort across the 23 counties spending over Ksh4.9 billion in food aid, Ksh500 million for commercial livestock offtake in 13 counties of Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu, West Pokot, Isiolo, Laikipia, Baringo, Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Tana River, Makueni and Kajiado in addition to water response activities such as water trucking and fuel subsidy to strategic boreholes.

A further Ksh1.1 billion has been disbursed as Emergency Relief Cash Transfer to 170,940 vulnerable households.

Lt. Col. (Rtd) Adan  said that the Government, together with its development partners, will next month, July undertake a multi-sectoral assessment of the food and nutrition situation across the ASALs and be able to advise on the level of the interventions  both short/long term to mitigate the impact of the drought.

The cash disbursements under the Hunger Safety Net Programme are part of the larger Kenya Social and Economic Inclusion Project (KSEIP) implemented by the Government.

The other cash transfers under KSEIP are Older Persons cash transfer (OPCT), Persons with Severe Disabilities (PWSD) and Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) under the overall Inua Jamii programme.

By   Wangari Ndirangu

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