State releases Sh2 billion to fight dry spell

NATIONAL |

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa. [Samson Wire, Standard]

The national government has released Sh2 billion to fight drought in 10 counties, according to Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.

The money, to be used in the Arid and Semi-Arid counties, was released following an order by President Uhuru Kenyatta two weeks ago when he declared the drought a national disaster.

Wamalwa spoke yesterday as he flagged off nine trailers and six lorries carrying 32,000 bags of animal feed to support pastoralists. The trucks are expected in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Isiolo tomorrow.

"We are already distributing relief food. We assure affected people that the government will not spare any resources in combating the devastating effects of drought," said Wamalwa.

"We are also enhancing the cash transfer programme, under the Hunger Safety Net Programme, in addition to relief food, water tracking and animal feeds. We have so far released Sh1.5 billion and the government, together with National Drought Management Authority, shall be going to villages to confirm if the beneficiaries received the money and how it helped them respond to the drought.’’

Wamalwa noted that the programme will be extended to Coast counties of Tana River and Kilifi.

He said the United Nations, through the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has given Sh308 million. The money will be used to buy animal feed and vaccines, the cash transfer programme and sinking of boreholes.

"We are expecting another Sh500 million from the same UN family to support these efforts. We thank the EU which has given us Sh500 million that will go towards the provision of water, a programme that has already started in Garissa. We will move to Mandera and Wajir next week to ensure water reaches pastoralists," he said.

The CS said they are also expecting a donation of rice from China.

The FAO Kenya Country Director Carla Mucavi said about 2.1 million people are in need of food.

"Projections indicate that if no immediate action is taken, the numbers will increase. The drought has also been aggravated by Covid-19 and locusts. With resources mobilised internally and with the help of partners, we procured the 32,000 bags to support the 10 counties. The four northern counties will receive 2,000 bags each," said Ms Mucavi.

She said the livestock feeds target productive herds that are left behind when others migrate in search of pasture and water. This will also ensure households continue to get milk for their children, sick and the elderly so that the vulnerable group do not suffer malnutrition, she said.

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