President Uhuru declares drought a national disaster

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Nairobi,KENYA:The Government has declared the current drought affecting 23 arid and semi-arid counties a national disaster.

Speaking on Friday after being briefed on the situation on the ground by Cabinet Secretaries involved in drought management and food security at state House Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta called on all stakeholders to support the Government by upscaling drought mitigation programmes.

The President also called on the local and international partners to come in and support the Government’s efforts to contain the situation which has not only affected human beings and livestock but also the wild animals.

“Support from our partners would complement Governments efforts in mitigating the effects of drought,” Kenyatta said.

He said the government would fast track and upscale its mitigation programmes to ensure the situation is properly contained.

The President at the same time gave a stern warning to all who are involved in food distribution that the Government would take serious measures on those who would try take advantage of the situation to enrich themselves.

“I will not tolerate anybody who would try to take advantage of this situation to defraud public funds,” President Kenyatta said.

He said all purchases of food and other requirements be done in a transparent and open manner and that all government agencies be involved to ensure Kenyans are not defrauded.

“Let all investigative agencies including the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission get involved in the activities being undertaken during this period. I don’t want the Government to be accused of taking advantage of this situation,” said the President.

To stabilise the high prices of cereals, the Government would allow maize importation by the licenced millers but would strictly monitor the situation to ensure it is done in a very transparent manner.

In phase two of drought intervention covering the months of February to April, the Government has allocated sh.11 billion to carter for intervention in various sectors.

Already National Treasury has released the first batch of sh 7.3 billion while the county governments have provided sh. 2 billion.

Present were Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Cabinet Secretaries Henry Rotich of Treasury,Willy Bett CS Agriculture and Livestock, Mwangi Kiunjuri CS Devolution, Phyllis Kandie ministry of East African Community (EAC),, Eugene Wamalwa CS Water and Irrigation.

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