Let's join hands and bail out starving Kenyans


Group of elders waiting for relief food in drought-stricken Letia, Turkana. August 2021. [Bakari Ang'ela, Standard]

Humanitarian organisations have appealed for more than Sh15 billion to deliver relief aid to 1.3 million people hardest by drought in Kenya. Conservative estimates put the total number of Kenyans experiencing pangs of hunger and water shortages at 2.1 million.

In September this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the drought assailing arid and semi-arid areas a national emergency and directed the National Treasury to release Sh2 billion for food relief.

If weather forecasts by the meteorological department are anything to by, the October to December rains will be inadequate, which means Kenyans could be staring at serious food shortages next year.

Such gloomy statistics point to the fact that the government has no option but to act decisively to forestall food shortages across the country. There is compelling need for the government to purchase excess maize from farmers at acceptable prices.

As a matter of urgency, the government should immediately mobilise resources and exploit the largesse of the larger Kenyan population to rescue our brothers and sisters in drought-stricken Turkana, Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Baringo, Kilifi, Tana River, Kwale, Marsabit, Kitui, Kajiado and Isiolo counties.

The philanthropic spirit of ordinary Kenyans in times of hardship is unmatched. In 2011, for instance, Kenyans contributed $200,000 via mobile money transfer within a few hours of a call to assistance by the Kenya Red Cross Society to help drought-stricken people in the arid and semi-arid areas.

Although times are hard for many households due to the ravages of Covid-19, Kenyans can rise up to the occasion to rescue their kindred. Any donation, no matter how little, will go a long way in saving lives. Besides, this is the perfect opportunity for politicians who have been traversing the country seeking political support to demonstrate their leadership mettle. 

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