Nairobi, KENYA: With the drought being declared a national disaster by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the government held talks with humanitarian agencies to bridge the sh. 11 bn gap needed to finance the situation.
Speaking during a press briefing in Nairobi EU Regional Co-ordinator Amb. Stefano Deja, said the European Union EU has pledged sh.3 bn that will be used in money transfers to people in drought affected areas.
“This is the most effective way to reach the vulnerable. The severity of this dramatic drought that is developing is something that cannot be entirely predicted,” said Amb. Stefano Deja.
Speaking at the same event United Nations UN Resident Co-ordinator Siddarth Chatterjee said that the drought situation was worsening and that no Kenyan should die of hunger.
“What has challenged us now is that the scale of this situation has erupted. And no one can turn this off, the weather is not a switch. 2.7 million people in 23 counties have been affected by the drought. We are expecting to reach 4 million Kenyans by April,” Mr. Chatterjeee noted.
He advised that the Government could request the UN to redeploy resources from its existing national development and humanitarian programmes to respond to the drought issue.
The Principal Secretary Ministry of Agriculture Dr. Richard Lesiyampe noted that the number of those affected doubled since last year with government having spent sh. 5.5 billion in various interventions.
“Scientific empirical evidence is needed to declare a national disaster of this magnitude. The situation has encroached counties that are not even categorized as arid and semi-arid areas,” Dr. Lesiyampe who also chairs the inter agency national coordination committee explained.
According to the Kenya Meteorological Department, Kenya will continue to experience depressed rainfalls during the period March-May 2017 which is commonly known as the long rain season.
Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and South Sudan have declared the drought national disasters while the impact in Somalia is severe and has been declared a famine.
On Fri 10 Feb 17 Pres. Kenyatta after being briefed on the situation on the ground by Cabinet Secretaries involved in drought management and food security, declared the current situation a national disaster.
“Support from our partners would complement Governments efforts in mitigating the effects of drought,” concluded the President in a statement.